Dairy farmers, processors and industry bodies are being encouraged to help shape Australia's first mandatory dairy code by participating in regional consultation sessions.

Consultations on the mandatory code opened on October 31, with meetings across major Aussie dairy regions to take place between 8-28 November, starting in Devonport, Tasmania, and finishing at Maffra, Gippsland.

The call for a mandatory code follows a number of inquiries into the dairy industry. The most recent review, conducted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), raised concerns about fairness and transparency in contracts between dairy farmers and processors.

“The dairy industry came to me and said they wanted a mandatory code of conduct, so let’s get on with it,” Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said.

The minister said that while the new code would not be a silver bullet, it was a good first step, with more structural reform on the way.

“Consultations are the first step in the process, and staff from the Department of Agriculture will be on the ground in dairy regions from 8 November 2018,” he said.

“This process is the first part of making dairy sustainable in Australia. A mandatory code between farmers and processors can help make contracts fairer, more transparent and enforce a dispute resolution process.”