(Australian Associated Press)
The competition watchdog will look at how the whole dairy industry operates under an inquiry ordered by federal treasurer Scott Morrison.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Tuesday laid out the issues it will consider as part of its 12-month inquiry.
The inquiry follows significant cuts to the farmgate milk price announced by dairy processors Murray Goulburn and Fonterra Australia earlier this year which caused consternation among farmers.
“The ACCC’s inquiry is broader than the price cuts issue, and we will not focus solely on a particular trader,” the ACCC said.
“The ACCC will examine how the whole industry operates.”
Key issues include competition between milk processors, contracting processes, the availability of price and other market information, the effect of private-label products on the industry, supply to global markets, and factors influencing the profitability of dairy farms.
“The ACCC is seeking feedback from interested parties on issues across all product and geographical markets in the Australian dairy industry,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.
“The inquiry will closely examine the key competition and fair trading issues affecting the dairy industry.”
The ACCC will hold public forums in dairy-producing regions so it can speak to dairy farmers about their concerns.
The commission is expected to report to Mr Morrison by November 1, 2017.
The inquiry is separate to the watchdog’s investigations into Murray Goulburn and Fonterra Australia’s price cuts, announced in April and May, which are continuing.