Farmgate Milk Price Underpayment Claim - 

For farmers who haven’t “forgiven the debt” owed to them by  Fonterra


Download a printer friendly PDF version of the full legal claim we propose, which includes the Expression of Interest Form


Adley Burstyner and Harwood Andrews are working together on a claim against milk processor Fonterra for the 2015/2016 Farmgate Milk Price clawbacks and step downs forced on Victorian dairy farmers. Harwood Andrews is supporting the action, as it is Victoria’s oldest and largest rural and regional lawfirm.

The actions are about ensuring that dairy farmers receive the price promised for milk and that processors don’t act without regard to their legal obligations, let alone their moral ones.

Although the ACCC allegations condemning one processor were filed in the Federal Court of Australia on 28th April 2017, processors’ behavior in May 2017 continued to be thoroughly unsatisfactory, leaving dairy farmers with significant unresolved financial losses.

To the best of our knowledge the class action we are preparing is the only process for recovering the financial loss caused to farmers by the 2016 step downs.

In short, we simply believe that farmers are legally entitled to get paid the price they were promised, for the milk they delivered. We believe that processors unlawfully underpaid farmers in the 2015/2016 financial year by the retrospective step downs.

A class action is an opportunity for farmers to jointly tackle that exploitation, and ensure processors don’t underestimate farmers ‘ability to fight back even against multinational corporations.

In fact, the May 2017 announcements shows that processors could implement clawbacks in the future – but a successful outcome to a class action may change that.

There will be NO up front cost to farmers for this action.

    Expressing your interest

    Expressing your interest means that you will be kept in the loop about the case and be invited to participate. It will not commit you to anything.

    Also, for us to continue working on this matter we need to know that farmers are interested in benefiting from our efforts. This is important because having enough farmers involved is critical for the viability of a case, and because we only want to help if farmers want us to. We are trying to help farmers because we consider it an extremely worthwhile, important and urgent cause, and because for over a century our legal group - the main rural and regional law firm in Victoria - has enjoyed associating with rural communities. 

    Following MG’s reversal of the MSSP ceased working on a case against MG. We continue to monitor developments, including as regards the impact of the sale of assets. We are not pursuing a claim for unitholders as presently we consider the risk too great that such a case will harm farmer suppliers. If you have been a MG supplier at any time since 1 July 2015, you can still complete this online expression of interest if you wish to be kept updated on any claims for MG suppliers which might be pursued in the future, but we stress that there is no claim we are preparing right now. 

    Our team is aware of the importance of Murray Goulburn to many dairy farmers, even though Murray Goulburn is now a modern corporation with external investors and it is no longer a co-operative as it was decades earlier.  We are conscious that many farmers have loyalty to Murray Goulburn, and we will act with that in mind.

    In any event, the case is a way farmer losses can be recovered, and for sending a clear message that clawbacks will not be tolerated. A case is not viable unless enough farmers indicate interest.

    Because of the need to get as many farmers interested, please send the link to this webpage to other farmers, by phone, Facebook, your blogs, email or otherwise. You can use these share buttons: 


    To express your interest in this claim please complete the form below.

    Name *
    Milk processor used in 2015/2016 season
    Did you sign a contract with your processor in 2015/2016
    Have you switched milk processors since 2015/2016 season
    If you were a Fonterra supplier in 2015/2016, does Fonterra claim a debt from you for advances to soften the blow of the May 2016 step down?

    Please feel free to email us any relevant documents, for example your contract with your processor or any written communications between you and your processor about the farmgate price. Our email address is