Dairy News

Senator sceptical of voluntary code

By Dairy 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.”