Review of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct announced

Dr Craig Emerson has been appointed to lead the 2023-24 review of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct.

The review is to ensure that Australia’s supermarket sector is working as it should. Aldi, Coles, Woolworths, and Metcash are all signatories to the code and are bound by it.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that supermarkets have a duty to make sure they’re providing affordable options for all Australians, especially when they’re making savings on their own costs.

“We have been clear – if the price for meat and fruit and vegetables is going down at the farm gate then families should be seeing cheaper prices on supermarket shelves too.

“We’ve made looking after consumers a key priority over the past 18 months and we’ll keep looking at every option to make sure Australians aren’t paying more than they should or getting less than they deserve.”

Dr Emerson was the Federal Minister for Small Business from 2007-2010 and Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs from 2009-2010. He was Minister for Trade from 2010-2013. He is a former Queensland Government Director-General and Senior Economic Adviser to Prime Minister Bob Hawke.

Andrew Leigh, Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, said Dr Emerson is one of Australia’s top policy economists, and will bring his wisdom and compassion to this vital economic reform.

“Dr Emerson’s work will form an important part of the wider review of policy settings that’s being led by the Competition Taskforce. 

“In the 1990s, the Keating Government’s competition reforms raised household incomes by $5000. History shows competition reforms can change lives for the better.

“Capitalism depends on competition. Monopolies gouge consumers and workers and undermine fairness. Competition means better prices and more choice for Australian families.”

The Government also released the Review of the dispute resolution provisions (Part 5) of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct and the Government’s response to the review.

The Government supports all of the recommendations in the Review to amend the Code to:

  • Enable Code Arbiters to mediate and allow suppliers to contact and seek preliminary information from Code Arbiters without making a formal complaint, and
  • Enhance the Independent Reviewer’s role in overseeing the conduct and complaint handling practices of the Code Arbiters.

The recommendations will be implemented as part of a broader package of reforms to the Code following the conclusion of the 2023-24 review of the remaining provisions of the Code.

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