Wednesday, 2 September 2020
Dairy Code of Conduct
On behalf of Senator Sterle I move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(A) farmers lack of bargaining power means that they are unlikely to benefit from an increase in the retail (or wholesale) prices, and
(B) even if processors were to receive higher wholesale prices from sales to supermarkets, this does not mean the processors will pay farmers any more than they have to, to secure milk,
(ii) on 26 August 2020, the Treasurer and the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management announced an ACCC inquiry into:
(A) harmful imbalances of bargaining power between farmers, intermediaries, including processors, and retailers in the domestic supply chains of perishable agricultural goods in Australia, and
(B) the effectiveness of the new Dairy Code of Conduct;
(b) recognises that the ACCC Agricultural Commissioner, Mr Mick Keogh, has confirmed that the current dairy code 'doesn't make any requirements in relation to notions of fairness about the price that's received by the farmer'; and
(c) calls on the Government to expand its ACCC inquiry to investigate how it can regulate the price of milk per litre paid by processors to dairy farmers to ensure a viable dairy industry.
The domestic retail sale of many Australian farmed products is concentrated among a small number of businesses. The ACCC has been tasked with taking a broad look at bargaining power imbalances throughout the supply chains, including in the relationships between farmers, processors and major retailers. It's disappointing that Labor's economic policy continues to be drawn straight from One Nation's playbook. Intervention on prices would have a range of unintended consequences for our agricultural industries, including dairy. What is more effective is competition and a well-operating market. This allows farmers and other parts of the supply chain to shop around for the best price for the product that they supply.
Question agreed to.