Farm-gate prices and quality standards of milk are to become negotiable, in a move designed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to smooth out the effects of deregulation in the dairy industry.

The authorisation given by the ACCC for Premium Milk Supply, which represents supplier cooperatives and over 30% of the farmers in Queensland, to negotiate the prices and standards with Parmalat subsidiary Pauls Limited is a case that is expected to open the floodgates on new bargaining powers.

CEO of the Australian Dairy Farmers Federation (ADFF), John McQueen, has welcomed the authorisation as a way to balance power in the marketplace, and hopes that soon other state dairy groups will also be able to negotiate on behalf of their farmers with processors and supermarkets.

Rod Shogren, acting chairman of the ACCC is positive about the authorisation, which has been granted for a four year period. He revealed that the public would benefit from a more efficient industry that will be more likely to encourage investment.
 
For more information, visit the ACCC website: http://www.accc.gov.au.