I understand there is a real problem for parents in China to have access quality formula for their babies.
I understand that making money is just part of having a business.
I understand that if you are presented with the opportunity to make a considerable profit by selling baby formula you could be tempted.
However, what I don’t understand is the current problem of accessing formula in Australia.
In the year 2015 it is now a challenge just to get a tin in your local supermarket. It is hard to meet the basic needs of our most vunerable citizens, our babies. Read my story and the background to why this is happening here
I’ve never considered myself an activist but as a mum confronted with this situation I want to do something about it. Something has to change.
This story is getting more media attention now but we need action from our government. Supermarkets and shopping centre security should not be the front line here.
What we need the government to implement tough shipping restrictions of 5kg or under on what leaves our shores just like the UK and Hong Kong (in UK instance they limit to 6 tins for personal use, in Hong Kong 2 tins), retailers and suppliers should be incentivised and recognised where they support Australian families over profit and we need the community to come together to support those parents in need.
I have drafted a letter below. Amend you would like, but please do me a favour and send this to your local representatives and key ministers. Only with public pressure will they listen. We need them to listen now. We need help now.
I implore you to have a voice so we can help our babies and families with young children. There are two easy ways to do this
1. Sign our 2 minute petition that is asking our Malcolm Turnbull, our Australia Prime Minister and Hon Barnaby Joyce to act here
2. Cut and paste (amend as you see fit) the draft letter below that I have sent to the relevant ministers and your local representative to urge them to act
The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull
Prime Minister for Australia
PO BOX 545
Edgecliff NSW 2027
Dear Prime Minister,
There is a severe shortage of baby formula in Australia like we have never seen before. Desperate parents are driving to multiple locations to find one tin. Some parents are not finding even one tin and are reaching out online to other parents to ‘borrow’ some formula.
After 6 weeks, families with small children are in crisis.
For a segment of our community that have little time and money, the pressure on families is immense just to fulfil the basic needs for their baby. While Australian families struggle, pallets of this precious formula is leaving Australia shores destined for overseas where one tin of Australian baby formula in China can now fetch over $100 (with a local retail prices between $20-30).
This profiteering is directly at the cost of Australian babies, but also has effects across the broader community. A recent Sydney Morning Herald article estimates that in the first half of 2015 $27 million worth of a single brand was bought in Australia – often by Chinese tourists – for onsale in China. At over 200% profit, these underground export businesses are foreseeably making millions of dollars on this emerging black market. This means that while Australian families struggle under austerity measures in the rush to budget surplus, precious goods are leaving our shores untaxed and possibly may be facilitating crimes against the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Act 2007.
This very same problem has been known to other countries around the globe and we can learn from their experience to act quickly and effectively in Australia. Due to the overwhelming demand and commercial profit that can be made, retailers and suppliers cannot resolve this problem alone nor can security at our local shopping centres be the front line. In each instance, governments in parallel have imposed shipping limits to the number of tins individuals can send overseas for personal use. Hong Kong imposed a limit of 1.8kg and the UK 6 tins, each with a maximum of 900g. In addition fines or even jail time could be considered.
Local suppliers are trying hard to keep up with demand; supermarkets have imposed restrictions between 2-4 tins per person, per day trying manage this demand in the last month; but the shelves are still bare for key premium brands such as Bellamys Organic, Karicare and Aptomil. Some people of the community may argue why parents cannot change brands to satisfy their baby’s needs. Outcomes for a change include refusal, allergic reactions, intolerances and any transition with a baby takes time (and often no sleep!)
Urgent action is required by our government to safeguard food supply for our children through initiatives such as:
- Education for suppliers and retailers to ensure that the health of Australian babies is prioritised over profit, and programs that incentivise and provide recognition for companies actively working to address this crisis.
- Legislative change to regulate the purchase and onsale of baby formula and referring to case studies from other countries such as Hong Kong , UK and Europe who have had a similar situations occur and have supported retailer restrictions to manage the situation quickly with fines, shipping limitations (6 tins limit) and jail time.
- An inquiry into the amount of baby formula being sent overseas from Australia, the cost to Australian families and to Australian taxpayers
I call upon our Government to take action in the interest of the Australia people and more importantly the most vulnerable members of our community – our babies.
Send this via email or mail to one or all of the following and make your voice count:
Malcolm Turnbull – Prime Minister for Australia
https://www.pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm – just cut and paste this letter into the contact form
PO BOX 545, Edgecliff NSW 2027
Hon. Barnaby Joyce – Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources
PO BOX 963, Tamworth, NSW, 2340
Hon Sussan Ley – Minister for Health
PO Box 672, Albury, NSW, 2640
Hon Michael Keenan – Minister for Justice
PO Box 989, Innaloo WA 6918
Hon Michaelia Cash – Minister for Women
PO Box 989, Innaloo WA 6918
Hon Christian Porter – Minister for Social Services (includes families and children)
PO Box 2226, Ellenbrook, WA, 6069
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