Scepticism over dairy contract changes

Dairy farmers say ‘minor tweaks’ lack detail


News
FARMER SCEPTICISM: Murrabit's Andrew Leahy was one of several farmers, expressing scepticism over the changes.

FARMER SCEPTICISM: Murrabit's Andrew Leahy was one of several farmers, expressing scepticism over the changes.

Aa

Victorian dairy farmers are sceptical about changes to milk contracts.

Aa

Victorian dairy farmers are sceptical about claims they will gain greater rights to terminate contracts, under a deal struck between the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and five dairy processors.

The consumer watchdog said the processors had changed supply agreements, to comply with Federal unfair contract term laws. 

Read more: ACCC secures better milk factory contracts for farmers

But MacArthur dairy farmer Craig Dettling said most of the changes appeared to be only “minor tweaks”.

“Five processors have changed some clauses in their contracts, but what clauses?” Mr Dettling said.

“It’s making out it’s a big thing, but until we get more specifics about what’s actually changed, how do we know?”

Mr Dettling said farmers would not know how contracts had changed until the release of the supplier handbooks, in June next year.

“Without details, it’s public relations spin,” he said.

Steve Dalitz, Numurkah, who is exiting the industry, said it didn’t appear the changes would make a great deal of difference.

“They don’t give us a milk price until five or six days before the start of the season, but I have to give four months notice to leave; it’s not fair,” Mr Dalitz said.

Andrew Leahy, Murrabit, said the change may make it harder to introduce milk price clawbacks.

“But I don’t see how it’s going to help, it’s not going to guarantee a better milk price,” Mr Leahy said.

“I don’t see there is any gain really; I don’t see how it’s achieved anything.”

Bruce Manintveld, Mirboo North, said he wouldn’t be keen to supply any of the processors who “haven’t bowed to the ACCC”.

“On the surface, it would appear the contracts, as they stood, weren’t illegal, but are just unfair,” Mr Manintveld said. 

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by