President's Message - June 2015

Jun 15, 2015

 

Whether at the farm gate or in the board room, stopping to take stock, acknowledge success and identify areas for improvement is essential to ensuring any good business remains on track to deliver desired outcomes.

Now at the half way mark for 2015, Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) is reflecting on the progress made thus far and the challenges yet to overcome, with the interests of dairy farmers and their profitability top of mind.

Volatility is a constant theme for dairy farmers and the past six months has been no different with all regions affected in some way by floods, drought and an ever fluctuating global milk price. But while there have been challenges there has also been important progress.

In March, we welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement to introduce legislation capping water buybacks in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) at 1500 gigalitres (GL). The 1500GL cap provides dairy farmers in the Murray-Darling Basin with much-needed certainty about future water availability to sustain their business.

ADF has also welcomed the relaxation of audit requirements for farmers in the southern-connected region of the Basin who participate the On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Programme. This policy win will be explored later on the newsletter.

ADF’s lobbying on competition policy was instrumental in securing a positive step toward reforming Australia’s flawed legislation - the introduction of a Prescribed Code of Conduct. The Prescribed Code is not perfect, but it does address several key imbalances with regard to retailers’ power over suppliers. We welcome the commitment already made by retailer Woolworths by signing onto the Prescribed Code, and expect that in the days to come all the major retailers will follow suit.

ADF will continue to monitor the Codes’ effectiveness over the next three years with a view to seek the strengthening of regulations if necessary. We will also continue to advocate for an Ombudsman to help balance the market power of major retailers.

The above ‘short list’ skims the surface of the progress made so far this year, with many challenges, and triumphs, still ahead. At the forefront of our agenda is ensuring our industry retains the confidence and trust of consumers, customers and the broader public by addressing issues of concern such as unconventional gas mining and highlighting dairy farmers’ commitment to the health and wellbeing of their cattle.

The team at ADF remains committed to ensuring Australian dairy’s voice is heard through government policies that support our industry, and working with our industry bodies to ensure dairy’s good practices are known and understood across the broader community.

Noel Campbell
ADF President

Coles announcement highlights need for Mandatory Code of Conduct

Dec 16, 2014

On the heels of Coles’ admission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) yesterday, Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has reiterated the need for stronger competition laws that will protect suppliers against the unjust activities of major retailers.

ADF President, Noel Campbell said that Coles’ announcement was a damning indictment against the supermarket giant, whose actions and continual denial over the past four years have had significant negative impacts on suppliers and dairy farmers affected by $1 per litre milk.

“Coles has misled Australian consumers and Parliament for too long on this issue,” Mr Campbell said.

“They have finally confirmed what ADF, and others, have long said about their unsustainable $1 per litre milk campaign. This admission does nothing to rectify the damage they have inflicted upon processors and dairy farmers, who have ultimately paid for their unsustainable price cuts.”

Mr Campbell said the announcement highlighted the need for a Mandatory Code of Conduct with significant penalties and a Supermarket Ombudsman to enforce the Code.

“Coles must pay suppliers, and ultimately farmers, a fair price for their hard work. They should not be able to force the costs of unsustainable price cuts onto farmers,” he said.

ADF looks forward to the findings of the Harper Review of Competition Law and Policy, with the hope that this will foster a fairer supply sector going forward and end unjust practices such as the $1 per litre campaign.

ADF thanked the ACCC for its persistence in pursuing Coles in this matter, and said it will be watching the court proceedings closely.

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