Description of Conduct

In March 2005 Dairy WA sought authorisation to establish a milk negotiating agency which would collectively bargain on behalf of dairy farmers the terms and conditions (including price) of supply and delivery of raw milk with processors and/or retailers (collective bargaining).

Dairy WA also sought authorisation to allow its members to withhold the supply of raw milk from processors under certain circumstances (collective boycott). However, on 30 November 2005 Dairy WA withdrew its application for authorisation of the proposed collective boycott arrangements.

On 20 February 2006 the ACCC issued a determination denying Dairy WA's application for authorisation as it considered that the proposed arrangement was unlikely to result in a net benefit to the public. Having considered the information provided to it, the ACCC concluded that, if authorised, the arrangements could damage competition and industry participants, including dairy farmers themselves.

The ACCC was particularly concerned over:
- the potential for the proposed milk negotiating agency to introduce local market-wide agreements and significantly depress competition between dairy farmers on matters such as price;
- the potential for the proposed arrangements to unduly restrict the ability of dairy farmers to deal with processors and limit their input into their milk supply contracts with the processors;
- the potential for the proposed milk negotiating agency to have a significant detrimental impact on Western Australian dairy processors and in particular the current milk balancing arrangements in the state.

In its assessment of Dairy WA?s application, the ACCC was mindful that Western Australian dairy farmers can continue to collectively bargain under the terms of the interim authorisation granted to Australian Dairy Farmers Ltd on 18 May 2005 pending the release of the ACCC?s final determination in relation to ADF?s application for authorisation of substitute authorisation A90966.


  • Dairy Western Australia Ltd

Authorisation number(s)

  • A90961
  • A90962

Submissions - before draft decision

Document title Date
David Johnston, Senator for Western Australia
Minister for Agriculture and Forestry re Interim Authorisation
Submission by National Foods
Response to Submission by Woolworths Limited
Response to Dairy Farmers Submission of
Counsel to ACCC re Response to National Foods Submission
Counsel to ACCC re Response to Coles Myer Submission dated
Counsel to ACCC re Additional Comments on arrangements with MNA
Provision of MNA Information
Further Information on the proposed structure and operations of the WA Milk Negotiating Agency
National Foods Milk Limited
Woolworths Limited
Further Clarification by Dairy WA re Interim Authorisation
ACCC to Counsel re Meeting of WA dairy farmers on 2 May 2005
Request for Additional Information re Proposed Milk Negotiating Agency
Minister for Agriculture and Forestry
ACCC to Dairy WA interim authorisation
PB Foods Ltd
Australian Co-operative Foods t/as Dairy Farmers
Coles Myer Ltd
DAFF - Price Determination in the Australian Food Industry Report
Australian Government - A Review of the Australian Dairy Industry Abare Report
Dairy Australia - Australian Dairy Industry in Focus 2004
National Foods Milk Limited
Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry
Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, Govt of WA
Coles Myer
Dairy WA
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