ACCC Time Extended

By QDO President, Brian Tessmann

The final reporting date for the ACCC inquiry into the dairy industry has been extended by the Federal Treasurer until 30 April 2018. Allegedly, the ACCC requested that the Treasurer grant it an extension to allow for an extended consultation period with industry following the release of its interim report which was initially scheduled for November this year.

While this delay is disappointing to Queensland dairy farmers, hopefully it will result in the ACCC working closer with farmer groups including Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO). QDO believe this closer working relationship will be critical in addressing and remedying the problems in the domestic milk market.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce previously said he will fix the domestic milk market issues including ending $1 per litre milk. It was in this vain that the Deputy PM and the Treasurer charged the ACCC to carry out this inquiry with the explicit intent of finding a resolution. Therefore, it is vital the ACCC does not continue to hide behind certain failed ideological beliefs, but instead steps up to the reality and recommend how current laws can be fixed to provide fairness to the market.

The recent Senate Economics committee report also outlined some of the industry’s issues and provided some key recommendations around collective bargaining and fair contracts including codes of conduct. At the end of the day there is no point having these inquiries if they do not do anything to fix the industry.

As one key government player said to us recently during an informative debate in Canberra, the fact is deregulation has failed in at least two industries; the electricity industry and the dairy industry. Government must act to either fix markets so they work once again or reverse the deregulation back to how we had it before.