Competition reform - give farmers a fighting chance 


The introduction of competition across food supply chains has not created the value and benefits expected of competitive markets for farmers and consumers, according to a new report from NSW Farmers.
 
As a part of the NSW Farmers Thinking Agriculture series, the Association has today launched the Competition Policy & Food Supply Chains: Time for a rethink report.
 
NSW Farmers President James Jackson said the report provides solutions and reforms to competition provisions to address problems within food supply chains.
 
“The report’s recommendations include reforming unconscionable conduct provisions and reviewing the principles of the National Competition Policy to include fairness in business dealings as an explicit consideration,” Mr Jackson said.
 
“It also backs more government support to establish voluntary collective bargaining groups and national champion organisations’ for primary producers to do their bidding in international markets.”
 
“Australia is in the bottom half of OECD countries with respect to investment in its food and agricultural sectors by government. While this paper is not suggesting wholesale introduction of farming subsidies, targeted investments will create a step-change in the agricultural sector.”
 
Mr Jackson said the monopsony-like buying power of the supermarkets and processors has been left unchecked.
 
“The Australian grocery market is the most concentrated in the world. The lack of competition has allowed those with power to extract unreasonable economic surplus, hollowed out food supply chains, and reduced investment in efficiency-enhancing measures.”
 
“Farmers are not rejecting the principle of competition; they are rejecting the lack of real competition in food supply chains.”
 
“We need reform of the National Competition Policy to give farmers a fighting chance and this report from our chief economist Ash Salardini should be the platform for achieving that.”
 
Date: Thursday 11 July 2019 
Media Contact:  Michael Burt  | 0428 228 988 | burtm@nswfarmers.org.au