3.102 The committee recommends that the Australian
Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), as part of its inquiry into the
Australian dairy industry, evaluate the extent to which the code of conduct
will reduce power imbalances between farmers and processors, and recommend
improvements to the code may better achieve this outcome. Any outcomes from the
ACCC inquiry should be incorporated in the proposed review of the code after
its first year of operation.
3.103 The committee recommends that the ACCC consider how
collective bargaining in the dairy industry could be strengthened to enable
these provisions to be more widely used and assist in addressing the power
3.104 The committee recommends that any review of the code
of conduct for contractual relationships should be undertaken by an independent
party that can objectively assess whether the code is working as intended and
consider if a mandatory code would be more appropriate.
4.52 The committee recommends that representative
organisations of the dairy industry, together with retailers, develop an
education campaign to promote awareness about the dairy industry so consumers
can make informed choices when purchasing dairy products.
5.72 The committee recommends that dairy processors set
opening prices conservatively so that any downward pressure from market forces
will not result in retrospective price step-downs that have devastating impacts
on dairy farmers.
5.73 The committee considers that an independent review
of the government's dairy support package be undertaken to determine whether it
has been effective in improving outcomes for affected dairy farmers and whether
it has delivered value for money.
6.26 The committee recommends that the ACCC specifically
address the issue of unfair contract terms within the dairy industry and
provide guidance as to whether milk supply contracts, in-principle, fall under
the scope of the unfair contract term laws. Further, the ACCC should provide
guidance as to how milk supply agreements and contracts could be developed
under a code of conduct for contractual relationships to be compliant with
unfair contract term laws.
6.37 The committee recommends that the House of
Representatives pass the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Small Business
Access to Justice) Bill 2017.
6.49 The committee recommends that the government
prioritise action to reduce the regulatory burden across the cooperative sector
and support programs to facilitate the establishment of new cooperatives.
6.63 The committee recommends that regulatory agencies,
particularly the ACCC and ASIC, review their approach to publicly releasing
information about investigations, with a view to providing greater general
information about current enforcement activities and relevant issues of public
6.75 The committee considers that the proposed Dairy Commodity
Price Index is of limited value and its development should not be continued.
6.83 The committee recommends that an independent review
of the Dairy Services Levy and Dairy Australia be undertaken by government to
provide assurance to dairy farmers that they are receiving value for money from
the Dairy Services Levy and the benefits of the levy are being fairly
distributed across farmers in all dairy producing regions.
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