Farm Tender

Dairy Groups call for a Royal Commission

By Dairy Connect

Victorian dairy advocacy group Farmer Power and NSW dairy advocacy body Dairy Connect has publicly called for a Royal Commission.

In last week’s Senate Inquiry into the Dairy Industry it was put forward by Farmer Power as a way to resolve the structural and lack of accountability, in the dairy Industry affecting all dairy farmers.

Dairy Connect has previously called for a Royal Commission into commercial relationships and restraints on fair farmgate milk prices paid to dairy farmers around the country.

Farmer Power CEO Garry Kerr said a Royal Commission should look at all aspects of the industry including dairy groups and the influence supermarkets and processors wield.

Dairy Connect chief executive Shaughn Morgan said in June that while the industry had been regularly inspected and analysed, there had never been a broad-ranging inquiry with powers appropriate to a critical analysis of the entire supply chain.

“There have been a number of stakeholder and parliamentary committees looking into the Australian dairy industry over many years with many of their reports now gathering dust on the shelves of Parliamentary libraries and MPs’ offices,” he said.

“A royal commission would overcome the lack of will in all governments in implementing appropriate reform in an industry where market failure has been occurring since deregulation 20 years ago.

“Dairy Connect supports a Royal Commission where the terms of reference specifically look at ways to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Aussie dairy industry and keep future generations of dairy farmers on the land.”

Farmer Power’s Garry Kerr said a thorough industrywide commission of inquiry was long overdue.

“We believe it’s vital that this independent review with the appropriate powers to be able to delve deeply into whether levies paid by dairy farmers are necessary and if the Federal Government and the public are receiving value for their investments,” he said.

“Farmer Power believes that conflicts of interest, lack of accountability and lack of financial transparency are enough to call for a Royal Commission to ascertain the true impact on dairy farmers of self-serving relationships in the industry.

“Funding arrangements and conflicts of interest need to see the clear light of independent scrutiny with the capacity to spearhead greater industry reform.”

Dairy Connect and Farmer Power look forward to the results of the current Senate Inquiry which we believe will only further help highlight the issues of concern and the ultimate need for a Royal Commission to resolve the issues within the dairy industry.