Wednesday, 31 July 2019
Statements by Members
I remind the House that the ACCC dairy inquiry in 2018 noted that there was a major power imbalance between processors and dairy farmers in their negotiations, and that there was no transparency. The ACCC called for a mandatory code of conduct. Australian Dairy Farmers, the Queensland Dairyfarmers' Organisation and Dairy Connect also called for it.
Two rounds of consultations were held on what should be included in the code of conduct and a regulatory impact statement was released. Former Minister for Agriculture in the 45th Parliament, David Littleproud, announced it was proceeding, and a draft code of conduct was released for public discussion. I look forward to it proceeding. Amongst the things it will deliver will be a ban on retrospective price cuts or step-downs; a ban on exclusive contracts; a ban on mid-season price cuts occurring unilaterally, unless force majeure, along with two-tier pricing; and a ban on withholding loyalty payments until the end of the contract so that people aren't discouraged from swapping processors.
Other announcements in the last parliament were for a novel milk-pricing initiative and a new platform for selling milk, which I encourage this parliament to proceed with so that we deliver a fair go, market transparency and better prices for our producers.