FORMAL dispute resolution systems and the potential to apply penalties when resolving conflicts between farmers and processors are among some of the changes Australian Dairy Farmers are seeking in their Code of Practice as it approaches its 12 month review.
The peak industry lobby body says there needs to be enforceable measures to protect farmers as the advocacy body gears up for an extensive consultation process that will consider feedback from milk suppliers.
“We absolutely want to achieve the best outcome for farmers, which is why we are taking a thorough approach to strengthening the industry Code of Practice and presenting this to industry for consideration,” ADF president Terry Richardson said.
Industry body the Australian Dairy Industry Council, which Mr Richardson also chairs, has engaged legal counsel to provide technical advice to be incorporated into a second version of the code.
“We are extremely aware the industry is waiting for an outcome of this review, but we must ensure all reasonable steps are taken to address the issues identified by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission report in a way that assists farmers,” Mr Richardson said.
“Whatever decision is made, this will be a significant step with long-term ramifications for the industry, so we must get it right.”
Mr Richardson said the code was devised with the intention it would be amended and strengthened based on feedback from across the dairy supply chain.
“This Code of Practice was always a first draft and must be viewed in the context that only a little over a year ago there was no mechanism at all in place to assist farmers with their contractual arrangements with their processor,” he said.