Scenic Rim farmers to have their say on proposed mandatory dairy code

DAIRY: Scenic Rim farmers are urged to voice their opinion on a mandatory dairy code of conduct. Photo: Larraine Sathicq
DAIRY: Scenic Rim farmers are urged to voice their opinion on a mandatory dairy code of conduct. Photo: Larraine Sathicq

Dairy farmers, processors and representative organisations are encouraged to have their say to help shape Australia's first mandatory dairy code by consultation in Boonah.

Federal Member for Wright, Scott Buchholz urged local farmers and stakeholders to take part and help improve contracts between farmers and processors.

“We need farmers and processors across our region to have their say and make sure the code will work for them and our local area,” Mr Buchholz said.

“The code will aim to make contracts fairer, more transparent and enforce a dispute resolution process.

“We all know how important the dairy industry is to us here in South-East Queensland and this can be the first step to a better industry.”

Queensland Dairy Organisation spokeswoman Sarah Ferguson said any code of conduct should take into account the needs of Queensland dairy farmers and also include retailers.

“Queensland’s dairy industry is unique since only a small percentage of milk is for destined for markets out of the state or for any products other than fresh milk,” she said. 

“So we need to make sure that our state based  interests are heard and taken into account when looking at a mandatory code of conduct.” 

Ms Ferguson said QDO would encourage all farmers and processors in the Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley region to attend the consultation in Boonah. 

“One thing that has become very clear through recent discussions with state and federal politicians, processors and dairyfarmers is that we need to extend the mandatory code to include the retailers, in particular the major supermarkets whose predatory pricing practices have destroyed the viability of the dairy industry,” she said.

“Currently supermarkets are under the Food and Grocery code of conduct which is voluntary. 

“Given the pressure and purchasing power of supermarket chains like Coles, it’s clear that they need to have a mandatory code enforced to stop predatory pricing behaviour that, from what we are hearing across a number of sectors is rife.” 

Mr Buchholz said consultations were the first step in the process.

“The Department of Agriculture will be in town talking to local people about what should be in the code on Thursday, November 22 at 10:00am at Simon’s Tavern in Boonah,” he said.

“This isn’t the silver bullet and there’s much more to be done, but it’s a good start.”

More information about the development of the code can be found on the have your say website haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/

People can register online, email dairycode@agriculture.gov.au or phone 1300 044 940.