Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has called on the Government to address the imbalance of market power facing dairy farmers, with the submission of its response to the draft report of the independent Competition Policy Review Panel; ADF’s second submission to the Harper Review.
ADF President, Noel Campbell said that the unequal distribution of market power means that farmers are often backed into a corner when it comes to farm gate prices.
“This disadvantage is heightened due to logistical constraints in supplying perishable goods. We need policy that will enable a more level playing field,” Mr Campbell said.
The peak dairy farmer body welcomed the Panel’s recommendation for an Effects Test, to examine the impact of major retailer conduct. However, ADF pointed out that the new need to prove purpose may make the Effects Test impossible to apply and should be removed.
ADF also reiterated the need for a Mandatory Code of Conduct and a Supermarket Ombudsman with teeth to balance the excessive market power of major retailers.
“While we recognise that the proposed retailer and AFGC Grocery Code of Conduct is a step in the right direction, ADF is of the view that it has a number of significant flaws and gaps,” Mr Campbell explained.
“The Code must be mandatory, applying to all retailers and incurring penalties for non- compliance, giving it the necessary authority to provide meaningful protection for the industry.”
The industry also called for further improvements to Collective Bargaining and boycott regimes, than those proposed by the Panel.
Designed to review Australia’s competition laws and policy, the Competition Policy Review is the first of its kind to be undertaken in 20 years. ADF acknowledged the efforts of the government to create a more equal commercial environment for industry suppliers, processors and retailers.
ADF appreciates the opportunity to respond to the review and the hard work that the Panel has undertaken to address key issues in competition policy.
Shona McPherson, Media Officer
M: 0447 161 919