By Brian Tessmann, QDO President
QDO and most of the dairy industry recognises the latest Senate Economics Committee Report on investigations into Australian Dairy and the Australian Milk Market as a positive move towards improving the entire dairy value chain. While it is not perfect or sufficiently widely encompassing, it will contribute to improving the entire dairy value chain.
The key focus is the need for farmers to be able to access and form more powerful, effective and efficient collective bargaining groups. This may include forming larger groups and giving them more bargaining power and access to improved training.
The Committee also recommended the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) review the Dairy Code of Conduct as part of its inquiry into the dairy industry. The Report recommended the ACCC design improvements that would better address power imbalances between farmers and processors. In reviewing codes of conduct, the Report also suggested whether mandatory codes would be more appropriate for the dairy industry.
Representative organisations of the dairy industry have been encouraged to team up with other sectors of the supply chain to develop an education strategy that provides consumers with valuable customer information so they are better aware when purchasing dairy products.
Overall the Senate report is a constructive document but we now await the report of the ACCC inquiry led by Mick Keogh. QDO hopes, after years of work, these recommendations along with the passing of the ‘effects test’ will finally deliver some fairness for Queensland dairy farmers.
Calling members to QDO Forum
QDO members are strongly encouraged to attend the QDO forum on 29 August at the Toowoomba City Golf Club. Senator Chris Ketter, Chair of the dairy senate inquiry, will discuss the findings of the Senate review. Mick Keogh, ACCC Agriculture Commissioner, will also present on the status of the ACCC dairy review. Dairy farmers should not miss the chance to see both special speakers in person.