Dairy farmers are in crisis yet the Morrison Government is stuck in go-slow mode continuing to delay the implementation of the ACCC recommended Dairy Mandatory Code of Conduct.
In Senate Estimates today a Department of Agriculture and Water Resources official said the Dairy Industry Mandatory Code of Conduct will not be implemented until 2020.
Dairy farmers are struggling now and cannot afford to keep waiting for meaningful Government action.
It’s been almost a year since the ACCC’s report into the performance of the dairy industry recommended a Mandatory Code of Conduct be established. This followed an 18 month inquiry sparked by processors Murray Goulburn and Fonterra slashing milk prices in 2016.
After more than five years in power all dairy farmers have seen from this government has been excuses and inaction. The fact is the Morrison government is kicking this issue down the road beyond the next election.
This is the same dysfunctional and chaotic Government that implemented a Mandatory Code of Conduct for the sugar industry virtually overnight in 2017 to get Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Senators to stop threatening to go on strike.
Meanwhile, a delusional Agriculture Minister David Littleproud yesterday claimed credit for Woolworths’ levy on its private label milk believing he’s doing great things for the dairy industry. A modest levy will not fix widespread structural issues in the industry.
The reality is dairy farmers are hurting now. Many farming family businesses are already at breaking point.
Whilst the code won’t fix all the challenges faced by the dairy industry, properly designed it can address the significant bargaining power imbalance between our dairy farmers and processors and will create a much needed base level of industry practice.
It’s time for the Morrison Government to genuinely support dairy farmers by implementing a long awaited Dairy Mandatory Code of Conduct.