National’s Senator Bridget McKenzie today urged dairy farmers to speak out at the upcoming series of ACCC symposiums on the dairy industry.
The ACCC Forums will examine competition between milk processors, contracts between processors and farmers, global supply markets and the profitability of dairy farms.
Senator McKenzie, who last month chaired a series of Dairy Roundtables in Victoria at the request of the Deputy Prime Minister, said dairy farmers are vital to the success of the forums.
“The government has had great feedback from the Roundtables which gave farmers and those in the dairy industry the opportunity to tell their stories and to ask questions in an open forum.
“I see the ACCC forums as an extension of that but it will only work if dairy farmers take an active role, providing coalface feedback on the key issues challenging the industry at this time.
“The feedback provided to the forum will assist the ACCC in preparing its Dairy Inquiry report, which was requested by Treasurer Scott Morrison last year.
“Last month’s Roundtables were challenging, to dairy farmers and to the rest of us as they opened up with real life stories and experiences,” Senator McKenzie said.
“It’s a challenging time for many dairy farmers right across Australia and the ACCC needs to hear feedback on a range of topics they will be examining.
“These include options for selling milk in different regions, the transparency of how farm gate milk prices are calculated and contracting processes in the industry.
“This is no grandstanding issue, the ACCC wants to hear from dairy farmers and other interested parties with forum discussions closed to the media.
“While the ACCC has the power to compulsorily require evidence, it also has confidentiality powers to protect the identities of people giving evidence”.
Senator McKenzie said a viable and productive dairy industry is vital to regional economies across Australia.
The venue and times for the regional forums are available on the ACCC website
(Note: Although the forums will be closed to the media, media are welcome to attend the venues to interview Commissioners either before or after the discussions take place)