The Australian government is supporting the dairy industry by implementing clearer and enforceable rules about the conduct of business relationships between farmers and the first purchasers of milk (generally processors). These rules are contained in the Dairy Code of Conduct. The code is a mandatory prescribed industry code made under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 that will:
- require farmers and processors act in good faith in their business relationships
- establish a mediation and arbitration process to address disputes
- empower the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to monitor the conduct of farmers and processors to support compliance.
The code takes effect from 1 January 2020.
The code will improve transparency in transactions between farmers and processors by setting out the key rights and obligations of each party. The requirements will apply to all agreements between processors—as first purchasers of milk—and dairy farmers. The code will also allow other matters to be negotiated and agreed between farmers and processors, as long as they comply with the code.