The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has welcomed yesterday’s announcement from Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson with regards to the Government’s comprehensive review of competition law and the appointment of the review panel members.
According to the media release by AFGC, CEO Gary Dawson branded the competition review as one of the most significant reviews in a generation in terms of the potential impact it might have on the food and grocery sector.
“The review panel, chaired by Professor Ian Harper, and comprising Peter Anderson, Su McCluskey and Michael O’Bryan SC is an outstanding mix of expertise, skills and industry experience. The food and grocery sector is an extremely competitive, dynamic and critical sector of the economy that delivers the essentials of life to every Australian every day. Competition policy remains a crucial element of the regulatory setting across the supply chain and greatly impacts decisions on investment and employment that shape the direction of the food and grocery manufacturing sector,” said Mr Dawson.
Mr Dawson further added that he was confident the review panel will be well resourced to consider the major market structure questions as reflected by the newly announced terms of relevance.
“The Food and Grocery Industry Code of Conduct agreed by the AFGC, Coles and Woolworths late last year was aimed at improving the operation of our competitive market by increasing transparency and certainty for supermarket suppliers, and explicitly prohibiting a number of anti-competitive behaviours. The Code is entirely consistent with the direction of the ‘root and branch’ review and will be progressed in tandem through the government’s regulatory review process this year with a view to it being tabled as a prescribed code under the Competition and Consumer Act,” he said.
According to Mr Dawson, the Food and Grocery Code established a clear set of principles relating to key aspects of trading relationships between retailers and suppliers and would provide greater certainty and clarity about dealings in the industry without adding complexity or cost in a fast moving consumer goods sector.
“We look forward to seeing both the industry code of conduct and the outcomes of the competition law review work together to strengthen the food and grocery sector,” concluded Mr Dawson.