THE Sydney lawyer who helped set up Harvey Water has been recruited to the drive for a WA dairy single desk.
WAFarmers dairy section president Tony Pratico said Jenni Mattila was helping develop a marketing model that would be useful for the entire WA dairy industry.
Ms Mattila has experience working across Australia on cases related to farmer market power.
In 1996 she established the two-tiered structure of Harvey Water, the irrigation project that has been of huge benefit to the dairy industry.
She said there was a big disparity between the bargaining powers of WA and eastern states dairy farmers.
"The authorised collective bargaining process was not as successful as we would have hoped, therefore we need to have a very serious think about how we can improve it," she said.
"One of the problems is that it doesn't recognise the uniqueness of the WA dairy industry.
"There is no domestic farmer co-operative in WA and that makes things very difficult."
Ms Mattila and WAFarmers are investigating the viability of a single desk through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Last year's dairy parliamentary inquiry recommended the government evaluate the usefulness of such a structure.
Mr Pratico said they were waiting on the results of these negotiations before releasing details of the proposal.
He said only that it would be a prototype marketing arrangement, with limited powers, which made it substantially different to a fully re-regulated model.
"Farmers are continually asking what's happening, but we don't want to create false hope," he said.
"If the reactions of the processors at this stage are anything to go by, then clearly we're on the right path."
He said WA's major processors were attempting to undermine the plan to protect their own interests.
Peters & Brownes has opposed a single desk and Mr Pratico said National Foods also had reason to be concerned.
"Nationals have not been working well with the collective bargaining process and if a single desk were to be set up, they would be threatened as well," he said.