ACCC launches new inquiry into perishables supply chains

A new ACCC inquiry will examine the bargaining power of supermarkets across perishable goods supply chains.

The three-month inquiry, launched by Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg last week, will look at trading throughout the supply chains, from farmers to processors and retailers and will include all perishable agriculture goods.

It comes just months after the mandatory requirement for milk processors to publish their milk supply agreements online came into effect, as part of the Dairy Code. This was designed to provide greater transparency around pricing practices and contracting and give farmers greater bargaining powers. The new inquiry will consider if this should be extended to include supermarkets.

It will also take a broader look at perishables supply chains and include meat, seafood, eggs and fruit and vegetables alongside dairy.

ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said it was aimed at identifying any further potential bargaining imbalances across the chain and the extent to which these may negatively impact the market. It will also look at the effectiveness of current regulations.

“This inquiry provides an opportunity to take a broad look at perishable agricultural supply chains in Australia, utilising knowledge we have gained in working across a range of agricultural issues,” he said.

“In recent years the ACCC has conducted detailed market studies in the beef cattle, horticulture, dairy and winegrape sectors, and has continuing responsibilities associated with the Horticulture and Dairy Codes, as well as the Food and Grocery Code.”

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