The Food and Grocery Industry Code of Conduct, which provides for tough restrictions on retrospective and unilateral variations to grocery supply agreements and a dispute resolution process between suppliers and supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths, moved forward this week after it was tabled in Parliament.

The long-awaited Food and Grocery Industry Code of Conduct is an historic step towards levelling the playing field for food and grocery suppliers in their transactions with the major supermarkets, said the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC).

AFGC CEO Mr Gary Dawson welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Small business Bruce Billson as integral to achieving a meaningful and enforceable Code that will drive behavioural change to encourage fair and effective competition in the long term interests of consumers.

“We congratulate the Government for progressing the Code as an industry-led solution to problems impacting on suppliers and consumers,” said Mr Dawson. “The Code was developed initially through negotiations with Coles and Woolworths, and it was their willingness to come to the table and develop a meaningful Code that made it possible.

“The Food and Grocery Code establishes a clear set of principles relating to key aspects of trading relationships between retailers and suppliers and will provide greater certainty and clarity about dealings in the industry without adding unnecessary complexity or cost.”

The Code will now be tabled in Parliament as a regulation under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 to give it real teeth, Mr Dawson added. He acknowledged Minister Billson’s ongoing commitment in developing the Code.

Aldi and Metcash stated that they will support the code, while only Aldi has indicated that it will sign the document.

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