Competition policy at a cross roads

Jan 25, 2016

January 26, 2016 marks five years since Coles’ supermarket dropped the price of its home brand milk to $1 per litre, igniting a price war with Woolworths that reduced the value of milk to an unsustainable level.

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has continued calls for the Federal Cabinet to adopt stronger misuse of market power laws to foster a more competitive business environment.

ADF President, Simone Jolliffe said there have been important breakthroughs for competition policy since 2011.

“The introduction of the Food and Grocery Code, which included a large number of ADF’s recommendations, was a constructive first step toward fostering a more competitive business environment.

Further to this the Australian Government’s support for key recommendations from the Harper Review of Competition Policy is extremely positive,” Mrs Jolliffe said.

“ADF also welcomed the announcement in the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper of $11.4 million over four years to boost the ACCC’s engagement with the agriculture sector including a new Agricultural Engagement Unit.”

However, Mrs Jolliffe said the industry would continue to advocate for improved transparency regarding the impact of retailer actions on suppliers. ADF also continues to advocate for the regulating bodies to have the power to prevent predatory pricing in future. 

“ADF also strongly supports the Harper Review’s recommendations for any updated competition and consumer law to include an effects test,” Mrs Jolliffe said.

“Addressing the misuse of market power is crucial in determining the Australian dairy industry’s future profitability and sustainability.”

Mrs Jolliffe encouraged consumers seeking to show their support for farmers to “buy branded”.

“The more branded milk we buy the more money stays in our dairy value chain. By keeping these dollars in the value chain dairy has the capacity to reinvest in industry research and innovation – which helps to strengthen our farmers, improving their efficiency and prospects of long term sustainability.

Buying branded means investing in choice for consumers on our supermarket shelves and in the future of our dairy farmers. This Australia Day – show your support by buying branded.

 

Trade reforms a positive kick start for 2016

Jan 23, 2016

Over the course of 2015, Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), together with state members and industry partners has worked collaboratively with government to broker new trade deals which increase access to key Asian markets hungry for safe, clean and sustainable Australian dairy produce.

ADF welcomed the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which entered into force on 20 December 2015, followed quickly by a second round of tariff reductions on 1 January 2016.

Also on New Year’s Day, the Korea-Australia FTA progressed to its third year of benefits for dairy exporters, meaning further tariff reductions and increased quotas for a range of Australian dairy exports.

Similarly, the Malaysia-Australia FTA moved into its fourth year of implementation, translating to further increased liquid milk tariff rate quotas. The Thai-Australia and US-Australia FTA’s also celebrated a milestone in passing the 10 year point, and provided improved duty free quotas for Australian dairy.

Further to this, the finalisation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations in late 2015, plus the late December announcement of an agreement to abolish government subsidies on agricultural exports through the World Trade Organisation.

The Australian dairy industry still faces challenges in its export focused markets, especially with regard to technical barriers to trade which translate to higher production costs, reduced product returns and restricted export demands all combine to lower milk returns for farmers.

With these challenges in mind, ADF is celebrating the progress made in trade reform to the long-term benefit of our industry. This progress boosts the industry’s competitive position in the global market and contributes to building confidence to invest in a strong future for Australian dairy.

For more information on ADF’s Markets Trade and Value Chain priorities, click here.

Water Act Review Progresses but more still to be done

Dec 21, 2015

The Coalition’s response to the independent review of the Water Act 2007 was released in December 2015. The Government’s decision to adopt all of the recommendations, some wholly and others partially, including to provide greater trading flexibility for the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH), is positive new for Australian dairy farmers.

The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) has lobbied hard for increased flexibility for the CEWH in optimising environmental outcomes in ways that ensure dairy producers have better access to water supplies. Dairy has proved a flexible and responsible user of water. We have adapted our practices to be more water-efficient. However, reduced access to water resources is already putting pressure on dairy’s productivity and profitability. This CEWH flexibility is key to helping our industry remain viable. It will also ensure a balanced approach to achieving environmental outcomes in the Murray Darling Basin.

The Government’s stated commitment to continue to work towards achieving a total 650GL supply offset is also positive. Achieving the full amount through environmental works means more water stays in the irrigation pools.

Chair of the ADIC’s Basin Taskforce, Daryl Hoey described the response as a positive first step but highlighted greater improvements in the implementation of the Act and the Murray Darling Basin Plan are still required.

“That the Government didn’t agree with the submissions of many to amend the Act to unambiguously state a triple-bottom-line objective or to strengthen the current implementation of the legislation is of concern. Such an approach is critical,” Mr Hoey said.

“It’s good to see the Government amend timelines to some evaluations and reviews under the Act. We now need such revisions to be applied to all elements of the Act.

“In particular, there is a need for a robust evaluation of environmental, economic and social impacts before considering an additional 450 gigalitres (GL) of water being taken from agriculture.”

To see the ADIC submission to the Water Amendment Bill 2015 click here.


Mr John Harlock appointed as ADHIS Chair

Dec 03, 2015

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) is pleased to announce the appointment of Victorian dairy farmer, Mr John Harlock as the incoming Chairman of the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS). ADHIS is the national dairy genetic evaluation organisation that provides Australian Breeding Values (ABVs) and other objective information about the genetic merit of dairy cattle. As an ADF initiative, ADHIS receives the majority of its funding Dairy Australia through the Dairy Service Levy.

John operates a 350 cow dairy farm near Warrnambool with his wife, Shirley. John has held positions on a number of dairy industry boards including the Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Company, Genetics Australia, Western Herd Improvement and Warrnambool Co-operative Society, has also served on the ADHIS Board for eight years. As a member and former branch president of the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria, Mr Harlock has a strong understanding of the broader dairy industry and the issues faced by farmers.

ADHIS CEO, Daniel Abernethy thanked outgoing chair, Mr Adrian Drury who has decided to step down to focus on the adoption of new technology in his dairy business on the north coast of New South Wales.

“Adrian has lead ADHIS through one of the most sustained periods of intense development in the organisation’s thirty year history,” Mr Abernethy said. “Under his leadership ADHIS has seen the successful implementation of genomics, the launch of the Good Bulls Guide, a world-first Feed Saved ABV and the complete review of the National Breeding Objective.”

“We thank Adrian for his service and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”

For more information contact ADHIS via (03) 8621 4200 or www.adhis.com.au.

 

 

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