Sen­a­tor scep­ti­cal of vol­un­tary code

Dairy News Australia - - NEWS -

THE SE­NATE re­port into the dairy in­dus­try re­leased last month has re­ceived a mixed re­ac­tion from farm­ers and farm lobby groups across the coun­try, with one farmer at the QDO Con­fer­ence in Toowoomba telling the Sen­a­tor it was “an ab­so­lute bloody waste of time”. Farm­ers were dis­ap­pointed the re­port did lit­tle to ad­dress the in­flu­ence of su­per­mar­kets. Sen­a­tor Ket­ter said the ef­fects test would help, not­ing “Coles and Wool­worths fought tooth and nail against that com­ing in”, be­fore say­ing La­bor was op­posed to it. Sen­a­tor Ket­ter said he was scep­ti­cal of the vol­un­tary code of con­duct, and dis­ap­pointed two pro­ces­sors had not signed. He said the code of con­duct al­lowed for price step-downs, which was “dis­ap­point­ing”. “I would have been stronger in a manda­tory code of con­duct,” he said. “I’ll de­lay my judge­ment and hope­fully it will be re­viewed by an in­de­pen­dent body down the track. “Ad­dress­ing the power im­bal­ance be­tween re­tail­ers/pro­ces­sors on one side, and farm­ers on the other, will prob­a­bly even­tu­ally lead to a manda­tory code of con­duct and a strength­en­ing of col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing pro­vi­sions in the com­pe­ti­tion and con­sumer act.”

Se­nate Eco­nomics Com­mit­tee chair Chris Ket­ter

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