NFF hails big stick changes in Emerson’s final report

The National Farmers’ Federation welcomes the final report of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct Independent Review by Dr Craig Emerson and the Federal Government’s acceptance of all 11 recommendations.

NFF Acting Chief Executive Officer Charlie Thomas said the report backed the peak farming body’s calls to better protect growers. This includes making the code mandatory, significantly increasing penalties for breaches, and better support for growers to raise issues with the ACCC.

The NFF is hopeful the Review recommendations will provide clear, credible and enforceable reform to ensure the Code is working effectively both now and into the future.

“This is a significant step in our campaign to level the playing field for farmers,” Mr Thomas explained.

“We’ve always said that to protect growers, we need a code with strong enough deterrents to influence behavior in the supply chain.”

The NFF strongly supports the Review’s specific focus on the fresh produce sector, given suppliers of perishable products are particularly vulnerable to poor behaviour in the supply chain.

Throughout the review process, producers in sectors such as horticulture and dairy particularly raised issues regarding their experience with the supermarket sector.

“These changes should finally give the code the clout it needs to protect farmers.

“It will hopefully mean that farmers can speak up without fear of retribution, and we’ll start to get a clearer picture of the issues at play.”

The NFF said it was disappointing not to see a recommendation to extend coverage of the code beyond supermarkets.

“Throughout the review we raised concerns from the greenlife sector that supplies Bunnings nurseries and argued that relationship should also have been covered by the code.

“We’ll continue to look for ways to better protect those growers in the greenlife sector.”

The NFF thanked Dr Emerson and the Federal Government for their support for farmers through the inquiry.

“We again thank Dr. Emerson for his proactive approach to hearing the concerns of the sector, and look forward working with the Government as it implements the review recommendations.”

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