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Farmers encouraged by firm approach to ACCC dairy inquiry

THE United Dairyfarmers of Victoria has praised the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for taking a firm approach in its inquiry into the dairy industry, following the release of the inquiry’s terms of reference.

A statement from the competition watchdog declared that its investigation into the dairy sector would include:

  • competition between milk processors;
  • contracting practices;
  • the availability of price and other market information;
  • the effect of private label products, including pricing, on the industry;
  • options for supply into global markets; and
  • the key factors influencing the profitability of dairy farms.

"The ACCC has been given unprecedented powers in its inquiry including the ability to require companies into handing over information," UDV President Adam Jenkins said.

"The inquiry is an important step on the path to reforming the dairy industry. Understanding the influences that contributed to this year’s industry chaos is important in ensuring we don’t ever repeat the milk crisis."

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.

"It’s vital that we uncover all the inefficiencies and inequities our dairy farmers face, and we agree an in-depth and independent inquiry will achieve a thorough and fair result," he said

"We thank the Treasurer and the Deputy Prime Minister for their support of dairy farmers. The UDV strongly supports the ACCC in its investigation, because dairy farmers deserve fair returns at the farm gate, as well as transparency in milk price arrangements and supply contracts."

The ACCC has said it will hold public forums in dairy producing regions to hear directly from farmers on their concerns, with a final report due to Treasury by 1 November 2017.

A separate ACCC investigation is ongoing into milk price cuts announced earlier this year by Murray Goulburn and Fonterra.

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