The Dairy Code of Conduct applies to all milk supply agreements entered into, or amended, on or after 1 January 2020.
Ms Carnell said it can be very daunting when a small or family business finds themselves in dispute with a large business — especially when they rely on that business relationship for their income.
“We are here to help. The first step when a small or family business comes to our office is to talk about their situation. We can provide guidance on how to resolve disputes, even in the early stages,” she said.
“Rest assured that my office will not contact the other party involved, unless the dispute resolution process is formally entered into.”
Ms Carnell pointed out at, under the Dairy Code, it is mandatory for processors and farmers to deal with each other in good faith.
She said milk supply agreements are required to have an internal complaints handling procedure and a mediation process. In addition, a milk supply agreement may also have an arbitration option.
“We understand how important the farmer-processor relationship is and we work hard to assist with the dispute, while also respecting the business relationship,” Ms Carnell said.
“I want to remind dairy farmers in dispute that they don’t have to go it alone. Please reach out for help by calling my office.
“In addition to the Dairy Code, my office can provide broader assistance to small and family businesses that need help with general business disputes, including issues with banks or the ATO.”