Kim Chance

Kim Chance

Minister for Agriculture and Food; Forestry; the Mid West and Wheatbelt; Great Southern

    Door not closed on collective bargaining for WA dairy farmers

    17/10/2005 12:00 AM

    Agriculture Minister Kim Chance said the draft determination by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) not to allow the establishment of a milk negotiation agency in Western Australia did not close the door on collective bargaining options for the State’s dairy farmers.

    Mr Chance said he was disappointed with the ACCC’s draft determination which was handed down today.

    “It has become apparent that commercial forces are driving milk prices in a way that is unsatisfactory for the State Government and farmers alike,” he said.

    However, the Minister said WA dairy farmers still had options for collective bargaining, a system in which producers work together to negotiate an acceptable price from buyers.

    “South Australian farmers recently used an existing ACCC authorisation to negotiate higher milk price," Mr Chance said.

    “I am pleased to see that WA farmers are also pursuing that option through a new collective bargaining group.

    “WA dairy farmers also have access to Challenge Dairy Co-operative as a vehicle for collective negotiation.”

    The Minister said the State Government had been working with farmer organisations since early 2001 to seek ways to improve milk prices for all WA dairy farmers.

    “The State Government provided assistance to the dairy industry to submit the proposal to the ACCC following the 2003 parliamentary inquiry into the dairy industry,” he said.

    “The Government has investigated several options including the establishment of a single selling desk for milk and stronger collective bargaining arrangements for the State.

    “This involved wide ranging discussions with farmers, milk processors, retailers and regulators such as the ACCC and National Competition Council.”

    Mr Chance said the State Government would review the draft determination with a view to making a submission to the ACCC.

    “The Gallop Government is ensuring regional WA receives its fair share,” he said.

    Minister's office: 9213 6700