1 June deadline for dairy industry transparency

26 May 2020

The ACCC has reminded dairy processors of their obligations to comply with the mandatory Dairy Code of Conduct, including the requirement for publishing relevant contracts on their websites by the 1st June deadline.

Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud, has urged dairy farmers and milk processors to know their rights and obligations under the Code as the publishing deadline approaches. 

“The Code introduced clear laws about how farmers and processors are to conduct their business relationship, to help rebalance bargaining power and improve transparency in transactions,” Minister Littleproud said.

“The 1st June requirement provides dairy processors with the opportunity to show they are supporting farmers by offering a fair milk price and new contracts that meet the requirements of the code, including by inserting clear dispute resolution processes in case disagreements occur.

“I encourage farmers to take note of the agreements once they are published, and compare the agreements offered by different processors.
 
“The introduction of the Code is just one way we are supporting our farmers. 

“The Australian Government provided an additional $8.1 million in funding to the ACCC’s agriculture unit to support the ACCC to monitor and enforce compliance with the Code. The ACCC will investigate complaints and can issue infringement notices or take other action if they find the Code has been breached.”

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman is also able to support farmers where they have a dispute about the conduct of their agreement with processors.

Australian Dairy Farmers recently delivered on the Australian Government’s election commitment to fund the development of a standard form contract template to assist farmers and processors in developing milk supply agreements.

On 1 June, Dairy Australia will deliver new resources funded through Government election commitments including a Milk Supply Agreement checklist, a guide to Milk Supply Agreements and Industry Code of Conduct, and talking points for discussions with processors, to help farmers feel confident about putting an arrangement in place that best suits their business.

“The Code is designed to introduce a level playing field into the dairy industry and now it’s up to those on the field to play fair,” Minister Littleproud said.  

Fast Facts:

  • The Mandatory Dairy Code of Conduct came into effect on 1 January 2020.
  • The ACCC has published information, including a fact sheet for farmers, to help ensure that all parties understand their rights and obligations under the new Code at www.accc.gov.au/business/industry-codes/dairy-code-of-conduct  
  • If farmers believe a processor hasn’t complied with their publishing obligations, or that their milk supply agreement is not compliant with the Code, they can contact the ACCC on 1300 302 021.
  • The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman also available to support farmers where they have a dispute about the conduct of their agreement with processors and can be contacted on 1300 650 460.