Darling Downs delivers first of nationwide dairy probe

DAIRY producers in Queensland’s Darling Downs will be in focus today, as the first hearing of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Inquiry into the dairy industry gets underway.

Small Business Minister Michael McCormack, whose portfolio includes responsibility for consumer affairs, praised the inquiry and encouraged producers to have their say.

“The Government recognised the need to hold and Inquiry into competitiveness, trading practices and the supply chain within Australia’s dairy industry and issued a notice to the ACCC to commence a nationwide probe last year,” Mr McCormack said.

“The inquiry will consider a wide range of topics, from prices at the farm gate to contracting and options for selling milk in different regions, so it is important farmers get along to the hearings and have their say.”

Hosted by ACCC Commissioner for Agriculture, Mick Keogh, today’s hearing in Toowoomba is the first of eight, to be held in locations across regional Australia.

“My Riverina electorate has many dairy farmers, so I understand the conditions and concerns vary in each location. That’s why I am pleased farmers from across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania will all have local forums to have their say,” Mr McCormack said.

“Much of Australia’s farm sector – including in the dairy industry – are small businesses. They are the lifeblood of many country communities and the Government wants to ensure dairy and agriculture has a very bright future indeed.

“This Inquiry is a vital analysis of the industry and will allow the ACCC to identify structural and behavioural issues which affect supply and production across the board.”

Mr McCormack echoed Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s commitment that the Coalition Government backs the long-term viability of the industry.

Further detail on the eight hearings can be found here: https://www.accc.gov.au/about-us/information-for/agriculture/dairy-inquiry. The ACCC will submit its report to the Treasurer by 1 November 2017.

The forums will be held as follows:

  • Monday 6 February 2017 – Toowoomba, Queensland
  • Tuesday 7 February 2017, Noon–2pm – Club West, Taree, New South Wales
  • Tuesday 14 February 2017– Traralgon, Victoria
  • Monday 27 February 2017 – Warrnambool, Victoria
  • Tuesday 28 February 2017 – Shepparton, Victoria
  • Thursday 16 March 2017 – Bunbury, Western Australia
  • Monday 20 March 2017 – Hahndorf, South Australia
  • Wednesday 22 March 2017 – Burnie, Tasmania
Cristy Houghton