Dion Burton at his dairy farm and milk factory in Tinana Photo: Mitch Crawley / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Dion Burton at his dairy farm and milk factory in Tinana Photo: Mitch Crawley / Fraser Coast Chronicle Mitch Crawley

Better deal on the horizon for our dairy farmers

PLANS to adjust the Competition and Consumer Act would mean independent sellers, such as Dion Burton, are able fight back against anti-competitive price wars.

Earlier this year, Mr Burton, who owns Burton's Fraser Coast milk, refused to be contracted to national chain retailer Coles for the sale of his milk.

Dion's retail price was set at $1.50 per one litre bottle to cover costs, but he and other independent dairies are being undercut by larger retailers who were selling milk at the shops for less than the dairy's production costs.

When it comes to buying milk what is your number one priority?

This poll ended on 06 April 2016.

Current Results

I will spend a few extra dollars to support our local farmers

92%

I go for the lower priced milk first

0%

I will go for my favourite brand of milk

7%

I don't have a preference

0%

I buy the first bottle I see

0%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Under the existing laws, Mt Burton said independent sellers were put out of business without any recourse.

But the scrapping of section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act could change all that.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced his cabinet had endorsed plans to fix Australia's competition policy, a Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland spokesperson said.

RELATED: No deal: Burtons Milk says no to Coles business deal

While the onus is at present on the complainant to prove the big business' intention to force them out of the market, a repeal of the section would set a lower benchmark.

Dion Burton at his dairy farm
Dion Burton at his dairy farm Valerie Horton

The smaller business would only need to prove in court the activities of the bigger business had the "likely effect" of decreasing competition.

It means independent sellers, like Dion, could seek action against larger retail companies who use anti-competition tactics. The plans to change the Competition and Consumer Act have also earned the thumbs up from the CCIQ.

A spokesperson said corporations could soon have to "think twice" before dropping their prices to levels the corner store could not match for an extended period.

Maryborough Chamber of Commerce president Lance Stone said the move would help stop the "morally wrong" practice of price undercutting. "It gives the little guys a fair go," he said.

Milk's story from farm to shop

  • Mother cow has first calf at about three-and-a-half years of age
  • She is milked for ten months twice-a-day after calf's birth
  • The milk is heat-treated, chilled and bottled
  • It is then distributed


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