The Federal Court has ordered the former Murray Goulburn managing director to pay $200,000 in penalties.
Gary Helou has been ordered to pay the penalty, for being knowingly concerned in Murray Goulburn’s false/misleading claims about the farmgate milk price, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reported.
ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said: “The penalty imposed against Mr Helou reflects his seniority at Murray Goulburn and involvement in misleading representations about the farmgate milk price”.
In mid-2017, Murray Goulburn was accused of making false/misleading claims that it could maintain its opening milk price of $5.60kgms.
The ACCC said Mr Helou admitted he was involved in the misleading representations made by the company.
“Murray Goulburn’s misrepresentations meant farmers were not informed of the likelihood the final milk price would fall below the opening price. This was important information for farmers as it would have influenced the business decisions each farmer made,” Mr Keogh said.
“Farmers were denied the opportunity to plan for the impact of the reduced milk price on their businesses between February and April 2016, including implementing measures to reduce their exposure to a decrease in the milk price or shopping their milk around to other dairy processors.”
“We were conscious not to seek penalty orders that would adversely affect farmers for the wrongs committed by Murray Goulburn, so we focused on obtaining appropriate orders against the individuals involved in the conduct,” Mr Keogh added.