Dairy industry left out in the cold
Story Added : 11th May 2011
A second interim report on ‘The impacts of supermarket price decisions on the dairy industry’ released on Monday, said cheap milk has been great for shoppers, but it was too early to tell if it was impacting on producers.
The Senate committee said it needs more time to evaluate Coles’ price slashing, including milk and chicken and other products.
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon has broken ranks with fellow committee members, saying there should be a minimum farmgate milk price to protect farmers.
"A floor price should be implemented for domestic drinking milk supply as an urgent interim measure," he said.
Nationals Senator John Williams, Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan and Greens Senator Christine Milne joined Mr Xenophon calling on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to investigate the matter further.
But in the opposing corner, Liberal Senator Scott Ryan has been coined by some as the ‘voice of reason’, saying that competition policy is not designed to protect particular players, institutions or firms.
“To do so at the expense of consumers would be a retrograde step, and represent a significant regression of the reform agenda of the last two decades,” he said.
The committee’s final recommendations will be contained in a report due out in October after dairy contracts are re-negotiated.