Real action needed on competition reform

 A suite of new laws and reforms are needed to crack down on bad behaviour by the nation’s major supermarkets, according to a Senate Inquiry report handed down yesterday.

The introduction of divestiture powers and laws against price gouging, as well as a mandatory, enforceable Food and Grocery Code of Conduct were among the report’s recommendations welcomed by farm leaders this Tuesday. 

NSW Farmers Vice President Rebecca Reardon said the report findings were simply further proof of the ‘profit push’ pricing practices of the nation’s major supermarkets that farmers and consumers had been grappling with for years.

“Prices are not down – supermarkets have clearly profited off consumers amid a cost-of-living crisis, while also using predatory pricing to extract huge margins from farmers too,” Mrs Reardon said. 

“The huge market power our grocery giants have held for too long is what has enabled this behaviour to spiral further and further beyond our control, backing farmers and families into a corner from which they cannot escape.”

With 14 recommendations handed down by the Senate to address supermarket pricing practices, Mrs Reardon said the inquiry findings were a strong step forward towards fairer prices for farmers and families moving forward.

“The Senate has heard the evidence and seen the light – we need to crack down now on price gouging and make our Food and Grocery Code mandatory and more enforceable, before more farmers are forced out of business for good,” Mrs Reardon said. 

“It is pleasing to see the Senate also listen to our calls to introduce divestiture power provisions, expand the powers of the ACCC and take measures to increase price transparency in the food and grocery sector.

“However, real consequences and real action is what we need if we want to reform our grocery superpowers for good – and so the fight won’t be over until we have recommendations translated into legislation that can prosecute unfair behaviour by our supermarkets.”

Date: Wednesday, May 8, 2024
Media Contact: Eliza Fessey | 0427 411 220 | [email protected]