Dairy symposium brings industry together to move forward

Thursday 25 August 2016

AUSTRALIA’S dairy industry has committed to work towards fixing the ongoing crisis engulfing the sector following a Federal Government symposium today in Melbourne.

The United Dairyfarmers of Victoria praised the Symposium as an ideal forum for farmers to have their voices heard in the same room as government, processor and retail representatives.

“Dairy farmers had an opportunity today to confront the processors and retailers responsible for the milk price cuts and low milk prices, and demand greater transparency from the farm gate across the whole supply chain,” UDV President Adam Jenkins said.

“It was a productive and frank discussion where we got to put our case forward regarding clawback clauses, we got to say what needs to change, and we got an outcome that the whole supply chain can address.”

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce chaired the meeting, announcing the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) would be given expanded powers in its inquiry into the dairy industry, with the consumer watchdog being handed the authority to obtain information from companies.

The inquiry, which is due to begin in November, will look at sharing the risk along the supply chain, supply agreements and contracts, competition, bargaining and trading practices in the industry and the effect of world and retail prices on profitability.

Mr Jenkins welcomed the inquiry as a fair way to ensure greater transparency across the dairy supply chain.

“We’re extremely encouraged by Minister Joyce’s comments that dairy farmers deserve fair returns at the farm gate, as well as transparency in milk price arrangements and supply contracts,” he said.

“It’s vital that we uncover all the inefficiencies and inequities our dairy farmers face, and we agree an in-depth and independent inquiry would achieve a thorough and fair result.”

The ACCC’s Agricultural Unit will lead the inquiry, engaging with stakeholders through public and private hearings, with a final report to government to be released in the second half of 2017.

Mr Jenkins said the UDV would contribute to the inquiry and urged others in the dairy industry to work together to solve issues currently affecting the sector.

Media Contacts:

Adam Jenkins, UDV President: 0437 008 806

Ashley Mackinnon, VFF Public Affairs Officer: 0417 165 784