The new mandatory Dairy Industry Code of Conduct (the Code) came into effect on 1 January 2020, based on the recommendations from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) inquiry into the Australian dairy industry. The Code aims to improve the clarity and transparency of contracting and trading between dairy farmers and processors.

To aid in communicating and implementing the Code, the ACCC has established the Dairy Consultative Committee comprised of representatives from across the industry.

DFMC is proud to have Tony Burnett on the committee representing both DFMC and its members, and dairy farmers more broadly.

Tony has been involved in the dairy industry almost all his life and has been the DFMC Regional Manager for NSW and Queensland for the past six years. So, when DFMC was looking for a representative to nominate to the committee, Tony was an obvious choice.

“I believe that we should all be involved in our industries,” Tony said. “Our industries don’t operate just by people doing their normal day-to-day jobs. We need people to get involved beyond the farm gate.”

Tony’s experience in contracts and his interest in developing competitive milk pricing models made him an ideal candidate.

Joining him on the committee is a mixture of representatives from other dairy farmer, interest and advocacy groups like the Australian Dairy Products Federation, Dairy Australia and Dairy Connect.

The committee first met in November 2019 and will meet quarterly over the next year.

“The idea of the consultative committee is to help the ACCC communicate to both farmers and milk processors what their obligations are under the Code,” said Tony.

Tony believes the Code will result in a lot more transparency for farmers and processors.

“A big change that farmers will see is that they’ll be operating in an environment where they have guaranteed minimum pricing for the terms of their agreement,” he said.

“Personally, I think that there will be a lot more transparency, because all standard form agreements will be published publicly. So effectively, we will have a lot more transparency on pricing over time.”

Tony’s role on the committee is voluntary and has involved a lot of reading to become familiar with the Code so he can best represent the interests of DFMC members.

“Knowing the code inside out is a really important part of what DFMC does and what we will do into the future,” said Tony. “We act on behalf of farmers and have their best interests at heart. It’s the core of what we do.”

DFMC intends to hold a round of meetings this year to help explain and guide farmers through the changes introduced by the Code. For now, more information about the Code can be found on the ACCC website: https://www.accc.gov.au/business/industry-codes/dairy-code-of-conduct