AUSTRALIA’S peak dairy farmers’ lobby group has doubled down on its efforts to quash a mandatory code of conduct that would improve contracting practices between farmers and processors.
Last week the Australian Dairy Farmers leadership refused to acknowledge Canadian dairy giant Saputo’s call for a mandatory code, despite the company’s chief executive Lino Saputo Jr repeatedly making the call.
Last week Mr Saputo told The Weekly Times andthe ABC he was “100 per cent” supportive of a mandatory code.
Yet ADF responded by issuing what it termed a holding statement that: “We are currently seeking clarification on whether Mr Saputo expressed support for a legislated mandatory code of practice enforced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or a code of practice which would be enforced solely by industry.”
ADF said it would “make further comment once this clarification (on Mr Saputo’s comments) has been made”. Since then ADF has refused to respond.
The statement was derided by industry leaders and government regulators, who pointed out there was no such thing as a code “enforced solely by industry”.
NSW Dairy Connect president Graham Forbes said he was saddened by ADF’s response.
“I feel sorry for Lino, because he was very genuine in the way he came out and supported a mandatory code,” Mr Forbes said.
Mr Forbes said Mr Saputo was no fool. “He knows what mandatory means,” Mr Forbes said. “He comes from one of the most regulated dairy industries in the world (Canada).”
Mr Saputo’s office issued a statement confirming support for a mandatory code of conduct. He said the code should make step-downs (and claw backs) illegal, which could only be achieved via a mandatory code enforced by the ACCC.
By: PETER HUNT
Source: The Weekly Times