A series of forums about competition and fair trading in the dairy industry are being held by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission with one being held in Shepparton.
The forum on Tuesday, February 28 will be part of the commission’s inquiry into the competitiveness of prices, trading practices and the supply chain in the Australian dairy industry and will allow dairy farmers and those in the industry to voice their concerns about issues concerning them.
ACCC commissioner Mick Keogh said fixed written contracts were more common in the north, while the southern states were bound by supply agreements, meaning, in theory, it should be easier for suppliers to sell excess milk to other processors.
‘‘Generally in Victoria, the issues raised have been whether the price step-down in April last year has changed the contracts between dairy contractors and their suppliers,’’ Mr Keogh said.
‘‘The northern states are supplying the fresh milk market and have written contracts with companies, which results in no competition as there are exclusivity clauses in the contracts.
‘‘It’s an open forum that we are inviting dairy farmers to, to talk about all these details and explain what they have seen.’’
Although it is an open forum, there were opportunities to express concerns in private.
‘‘Absolutely, we make sure that is available. The ACCC has other services available (outside of these meetings),’’ Mr Keogh said.
He said as part of the inquiry, information from processors and retailers would also be received.
‘‘Obtaining details from the post-farm supply chain and to have that discussion on how they see the industry operating is important.’’
■Tuesday’s meeting is at the Shepparton Golf Club, 15 Golf Dve, at 6.30pm.