Agriculture Minister welcomes dairy’s call for mandatory code of conduct

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud has welcomed Australian Dairy Farmers’ call for a mandatory code of conduct for the dairy sector.

Minister Littleproud had asked the dairy sector to come up with a united position on a mandatory code and the ACCC report into the sector in April, saying he wanted the sector to choose its own direction and lead. Two weeks ago he’d told the sector it was time for them to come up with a position given four months had passed since the report was handed down.

“I commend ADF on their leadership on this issue,” Minister Littleproud said.

“I told them it was time to lead on a mandatory code and the ADF has stepped up. I know this was a difficult process for them and they’ve shown the courage to take their industry forward.

“Now that we have direction from the organisation representing dairy farmers across Australia, we can move forward. I agree with ADF that a mandatory code must deliver coverage across the entire industry and improve bargaining power for Australian dairy farmers.

“I will work with farm groups to get this code right.

“While a mandatory code should improve bargaining power it is unlikely to change milk prices.

“The ACCC report stated the farmers were at a disadvantage given processors had better access to market information, and that’s something we’re working on through the milk price index. We’ll continue to look carefully at the issues raised in the ACCC report as we work with industry to come up with actions in response to the report.

“Now that we have philosophical agreement, we can work through the details of a proposed mandatory code together and then I can take the proposal to Cabinet. I look forward to working through this with farmers and industry bodies as we begin on the huge task of structural reform the sector needs.”

Background: ADF is the peak body representing dairy farmer bodies from around Australia.

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