Submissions sought for revisions

22 Dec, 2005 07:00 PM

SUBMISSIONS from the Australian dairy industry are being sought in relation to revisions of the Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) collective bargaining arrangement.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) last week issued a draft decision proposing to grant authorisation to the ADF and its member dairy farmers for a further five years.

But the commission was concerned the ADF arrangements were not in the public's interest.

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said the concerns were similar to the conclusion reached by the ACCC and the Australian Competition Tribunal when the ADF bargaining arrangements were first assessed and approved in 2002.

"The ACCC considers, however, that the 2002 conditions would benefit from clarification and, where appropriate, simplification so that the full benefits of the ADF arrangement may be achieved," Mr Samuel said.

Dairy WA is trying to get a WA collective bargaining arrangement ­ a decision is expected to be handed down on January 10.

The ACCC has referred Dairy WA to the ADF authorisation, which it said already allowed dairy farmers to collectively negotiate with processors.

But at the ACCC pre-determination conference in Perth last month, Dairy WA director Nola Marino said the existing ADF authorisation aggravated the state's low milk price situation by locking in suppliers to a single processor.

Ms Marino said farmers could not be out of contract as they could not store perishable products.

"Therefore the current ADF authorisation enshrines suppliers' inability to compete or negotiate a fairer price or better condition," she said.

Submissions on the ADF draft determination or revisions can be posted to: The general manager, Adjudication Branch, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, PO Box 1199, Dickson, ACT, 2602.


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