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Abstract

Fluid milk marketing in Australia is generally associated with an administered system where free market forces are unable to operate due to public intervention. Such interference creates a situation where, as Throsby [6, p. 243] puts it, 'returns to the fluid milk sector are maintained by monopoly pricing and supply control measures which vary from State to State'. The Australian Capital Territory (A.C.T.) is, similarly, not immune to the effects of producer protection. Indeed, it is contended that the implementation of the proposals contained in the A.C.T. Milk Authority Report of March 1974 [3] would have the effect of institutionalizing the power of the dairy industry to act in a manner opposed to the interests of A.C.T. consumers. The basic reason why the interests of consumers are so often put second to those of suppliers is summed up by J.N. Lewis [2, p. 283]: 'A determined close-knit group with strong interests in a particular policy issue can often impose its desires upon an apathetic majority whose interests are weak and diffused'. It is proposed to develop this theme by looking at the history of milk supply in the A.C.T. as a background to an examination of the Report, an appraisal of its contents, the advocacy of an alternative (competitive) solution and an estimation of costs, to consumers, of producer protection.

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