Inquiry into dairy industry to uncover inequities
DEPUTY Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce announced that an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) inquiry into the national dairy industry is set to take place in November.
Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison will request the ACCC to undertake an inquiry under Part VIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 which will give the Commission powers to obtain information from companies to investigate.
In announcing the inquiry at a recent Dairy Symposium, Minister Joyce said the nation’s dairy farmers deserve fair returns at the farm gate, as well as transparency in milk price arrangements and supply contracts.
“An in-depth and independent inquiry is a thorough and fair way to uncover inefficiencies and inequities that our farmers face – and identify a way forward,” he said.
“I encourage everyone in the dairy industry to contribute to the inquiry – there will be confidentiality arrangements in place to ensure the ACCC gets the information it needs while protecting commercial interests.”
Minister Joyce said the symposium was a chance to get key stakeholders together to facilitate industry-led options to address challenges facing the Australian dairy industry and discuss ways to improve the industry’s prospects going forward.
“Recent events have shown there is a need for the industry to better balance risk along the dairy supply chain, especially when it comes to managing the effects of lower world prices.
“Ultimately, I want to see improved farm gate returns for dairy farmers, an openness in milk price arrangements and fair and transparent milk supply contracts.
“This can only happen if there is buy-in from industry and a willingness from key stakeholders to hear each other out and develop solutions together.
“The Coalition government will continue to work with our dairy farmers and processors to strengthen the dairy industry, including our election commitment of up to $2 million to establish a commodity milk price index.
“The symposium provided an opportunity for stakeholders to put forward early views on this,” Minister Joyce said.
The ACCC will release an issues paper and engage with stakeholders through public and private hearings, and written submissions to deliver a final report to government in the second half of 2017.