South Coast dairy farmers have welcomed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) nation wide investigation into the dairy industry.
Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce made the announcement a review would be held on Thursday.
Dairy farmer Justin Walsh from Jaspers Brush hoped milk contracts which did not have fixed prices would be cast under the microscope.
“I think it’s a good thing to get the ACCC involved,” he said.
“I guess in the past they have looked at other things and not really achieved a whole lot, so it would be good if they could come up with something workable or recommendations that could be used rather than just talked about.
“They need to examine unfair contracts, and try to get a more level playing field between processors, farmers and retailers.”
Federal Member for Gilmore, Ann Sudmalis wrote to ACCC agricultural commissioner Mick Keogh in June following meetings with local dairy farmers concerned about their futures after dairy companies slashed farm gate prices.
Ms Sudmalis, said the ACCC inquiry, to begin in November, was a great way forward towards securing the future of the region’s dairy farmers.
“We can all do our bit by continuing to buy branded milk, giving dairy farmers the best chance of a decent return for all the hard work they do,” she said.
“But this inquiry will investigate the bigger issues such as sharing of risk along the supply chain, supply agreements and contracts, competition, bargaining and trading practices in the industry and the effect of world and retail prices on profitability.”
Agricultural representative body Dairy Connect has also strongly welcomed the review.
“Australian Competition and Consumer Commission review announced on Thursday by Barnaby Joyce as a potentially great platform from which to build our future,” Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan said.
“The announcement by the Deputy Prime Minister is greatly welcomed and we thank him for it.”
The ACCC will release an issues paper and engage with stakeholders through public and private hearings, and written submissions to deliver a final report to government in the second half of 2017.