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NSW Farmers addresses ACCC Dairy Inquiry

NSW dairy farmers have called for better market transparency and more bargaining power in negotiating milk contracts at an ACCC forum in Taree this month.

The forum was held as part of the ACCC’s national inquiry into competitiveness, trading practices, the dairy supply chain and the impact of $1-a-litre milk.

Farmers from the NSW south coast and Hunter region joined more than 150 local farmers and industry stakeholders at the forum to press an urgent need for change to save the family dairy farm.

Farmers spoke up about unfair supply contracts, the farm gate impact of $1-a-litre retail milk and the market power that processors and retailers wield over family farms.

The Association urged the consumer watchdog to increase transparency from major dairy companies.

NSW Farmers recommended that the Australian dairy industry should follow in Ireland’s footsteps and introduce a new price reporting system that’s fairer for farmers.

Members attending the forum provided real examples of supply chain behaviour that needs to be investigated.

The Association urged the Commission to lift the veil on elements of the supply chain such as pricing mechanisms, contract terms and the impact of $1 per litre milk. Even measures that are supposed to even out the playing field like collective bargaining groups need to be critically analysed and improved.

Other countries, such as Ireland, measures including annual retrospective price reporting take the mystery out of the supply chain, and improve the business relationship between companies and farmers.

The public forums continue with venues in Victoria from this week and the week after, followed by Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania in March.  A report is due to be submitted to the Federal Treasurer by November this year.

Farmers who are unable to attend the forums can still have their say by contacting the ACCC dairy inquiry team on (03) 9290 1997 or dairyinquiry@accc.gov.au

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