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Nationals pressure government over slow start to supermarket price review

Beef Central, 09/01/2024

Labor’s Food and Grocery Code of Conduct Review launched 100 days ago and spruiked by agriculture minister Murray Watt as Labor’s action against supermarket price gouging still lacks a reviewer to start its work, Nationals leader David Littleproud said in a statement today.

David Littleproud

Mr Littleproud said Labor had wasted 100 days of a 272-day review that it claimed could increase price transparency and penalties on supermarkets, while families and farmers continued to be ripped off at the checkout and farmgate in a cost-of-living crisis.

“It’s now 100 days since Labor announced a Review to report by 30 June, 2024, which was meant to be its solution for suppliers dealing with supermarkets and price transparency for families at the checkout, but Labor still hasn’t appointed a reviewer,” Mr Littleproud said.

“How can a reviewer report by its due date of 30 June, when it doesn’t even exist?”

The assistant minister for competition, Dr Andrew Leigh released the terms of reference on October 3, with agriculture minister Murray Watt claiming on a November 14 Sunrise interview:

“It’s not just words from us, we’ve actually already started a review of what’s called the Food and Grocery Code, which regulates the dealings between retailers and their suppliers to make sure that it’s much more transparent. It’s quite possible that as a result of that review, we’ll see penalties on retailers increased. So we are already taking action on these issues.”

Mr Littleproud said the delays follow further evidence of price disparity on the cost of fruit and vegetables in supermarkets, which demanded an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission price inquiry.

A recent survey by AusVeg found record-low morale and more than 30 percent of Australian vegetable growers are considering leaving the industry this year, with labour shortages, policy changes and rising operational costs their major concerns.

“The Nationals have been calling for an ACCC price inquiry into supermarket price gouging, which as an independent watchdog would have greater power to act and compel supermarket CEOs to give evidence,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Our growers and farmers need the confidence to get their fair share, to know they can negotiate in good faith and get paid on the right terms. Families and farmers deserve better than Labor’s failure to act.”

 

Source: Nationals

 

 

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Comments

  1. Tony James, 09/01/2024

    Littleproud and the LNP had nine years to do something about anti-competitive conduct by supermarkets (anyone remember the $1 milk fiasco?) and chose to do precisely nothing. It’s a bit rich for them to be complaining about delays now.

  2. Peter Dunn, 09/01/2024

    I have three pieces of advice for David Littleproud: go harder, go harder, and go even harder. This duopoly should never have been allowed to exercise so much market control over so many decades, but it has been ALLOWED to do so by too many weak governments.
    I attended a large meeting of fruit growers on the Atherton Tablelands in the early 2000’s, and the growers were screaming for a mandatory code to be imposed. A certain prominent Senator led people to believe that he was right behind the farmers, but when he got up in front of the microphone, he gave a mandatory code no more than a nod, and then followed up with supporting a voluntary code for the duopoly because both major chains had indicated support for a voluntary code. It is an understatement to say that the farmers felt that they had been sold out. No guessing needed about which way their votes went at the next election.
    Farmers are long overdue for some justice in their dealings with the duopoly, and strength to the arm of David Littleproud and the Nationals for starting the battle.

  3. Brad Bellinger, 09/01/2024

    The solution is simple .Full price discovery at checkout.
    For food items such as fresh fruit and veg and of course fresh meat sales the price that the supermarket paid the farmer printed on the item sold.Consumers would soon understand the incredible markups that a duopoly can get away with.Shoppers can then shop accordingly.

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