ACCC updates Dairy Code ahead of deadline

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission

Monday, 09 May, 2022

ACCC updates Dairy Code ahead of deadline

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has updated its guidance for the Dairy Code ahead of the 1 June deadline for dairy processors to publish their new milk supply agreements.

The updates provide details on the code’s single document requirement, arrangements for cooperatives and collective bargaining groups, what constitutes a material breach, loyalty payments and other bonuses, and the requirement to publish dispute reports.

A checklist for processors to check their key obligations has also been provided.

“Now that the code has been in operation for nearly two full seasons and the dairy industry has provided feedback, we have updated our guidance to users in light of some of the practical issues that have come up,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.

“The updated guidance is consistent with our previous information. Given processors are approaching the third season opening since the code came into effect, we expect them to be across their obligations.”

Dairy processors must publish their milk supply agreements under penalty of being fined. Last year a dairy was fined over $10,000 for failing to publish its agreements. Keogh stressed the importance of processors keeping abreast with the Dairy Code and how its legislation impacts them, especially given that the ACCC is moving away from educating producers about the Dairy Code and instead will focus on enforcing it.

“Processors that don’t comply with the code now face a greater risk of enforcement action by the ACCC,” Keogh said.

“If there are processors who are still unsure of their obligations under the code, we encourage them to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

“It’s important that farmers understand their rights and responsibilities under the code. In particular, farmers should resist being rushed, and should carefully consider all the offers available to them before signing a supply agreement.”

Read the Dairy Code online and be sure to update your milk supply agreements before the 2:00pm, 1 June deadline to avoid being fined.

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