The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is proposing to authorize the Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation Limited’s (QDO) Fair Go Dairy licensing scheme for five years.
Under the scheme, QDO, a not-for-profit advocacy organization representing the interests of dairy farmers across Queensland, will grant processors a license to use the ‘Fair Go Dairy’ logo on qualifying dairy products.
Qualifying dairy products must contain at least 80% unprocessed milk produced by Queensland dairy cows and purchased from a Queensland dairy farmer for a price not less than a “sustainable and fair” price calculated by QDO.
The ACCC said its preliminary view is that on balance the Fair Go Dairy Scheme is likely to result in some limited public benefits through small improvements in information and choice for consumers, and a small increase in retail competition in Queensland.
“The ACCC recognizes that there are some consumers who want to know more about the dairy products they buy and how much dairy farmers were paid to produce them. If the scheme is authorized, it could be useful for those consumers, if they understand what the Fair Go Dairy logo conveys” ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said.
So far, none of the major milk processors in Queensland have indicated they will participate in the scheme, although several smaller processors have expressed interest.
The ACCC also considered whether any public detriments will arise from authorizing the scheme.
“We have considered whether the logo is likely to mislead consumers, reduce competition, increase retail prices for dairy products or reduce the incentive for farms to innovate,” Keogh said.
“We believe these outcomes are unlikely, although we are seeking further submissions from the public on possible harm that might arise from the scheme or the Fair Go Dairy Logo.”
The ACCC also granted interim authorization to QDO to allow it to immediately start negotiations with milk processors and undertake marketing and planning for the proposed ‘Fair Go Dairy’ licensing scheme. However, any resulting agreements cannot be signed or come into effect until the ACCC’s final determination.
The ACCC is seeking feedback on the impacts of the interim authorization and the draft determination proposing to authorize the scheme for five years.
More information, including the draft determination, interim authorization decision, and details on how to make a submission are available at Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation Limited.
ACCC authorization provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.