11 November 2018

Farmer input needed to get code right

The United Dairyfarmers of Victoria is encouraging all dairy farmers to have input on what a mandatory code of conduct could mean for them and their industry.

Last week Federal Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud announced details of stakeholder consultations as part of the Department’s development of a mandatory code of conduct for the Australian dairy industry.

“The Australian dairy industry has now got a set of mandatory regulations being developed by Government, detailing how farmers ought to do business with their processor,” UDV President Adam Jenkins said.

“A mandatory code will affect every single dairy farmer in Australia, whether we like it or not, so it is important farmers attend and have their say on what they think should or shouldn’t be included in a mandatory code.”

The Department wants feedback on what should be included in a code and how best to address issues such as:

  • cooling off periods when entering and terminating contracts
  • dispute resolution processes
  • limiting exclusive supply clauses between processors and farmers
  • prohibiting retrospective milk price step-downs
  • terminating contracts.

“It’s crucial we address the power imbalance between dairy farmers and processors,” Mr Jenkins said.

“It’s also crucial a government regulatory tool, such a mandatory code, is developed with rigour and can address the range of different issues facing the different milk markets.”

Mr Jenkins said the UDV would contribute to the consultation process and highlight important areas, such as the need for a dispute resolution process that is entirely independent.

Three mandatory code consultation forums will be held across Victoria in late November, commencing at 10.30 am:

  • Camperdown, Monday 26 November, Camperdown RSL
  • Shepparton, Tuesday, 27 November, Shepparton Swans Football Club
  • Maffra, Wednesday, 28 November, Maffra RSL

“If you can’t make it to your local forum, we encourage you to provide feedback online, contact the Department via phone or email or contact your local UDV Policy Councillor,” said Mr Jenkins.

Details on the code can be found on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website: https://haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/dairy-code-conduct

Media Contacts:
Adam Jenkins, President, United Dairyfarmers of Victoria, 0437 008 806
Andrew MacDonald, VFF Media Advisor, 0418 282 875

About the VFF
The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) is dedicated to representing the interests of farmers and making a positive difference to their businesses and communities. We strive to create an environment for our members, our farmers, that enables profitable, safe, sustainable production to ensure an enduring social licence in a community that respects and values the sector.