Release Of Food And Grocery Code Review Interim Report

Australian Treasury

Today we have released the interim report of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct independent review, commissioned by the Albanese Government.

We want a fair go for families and a fair go for farmers.

This work is all about making our supermarkets as competitive as they can be so Australians get the best prices possible.

Following extensive stakeholder engagement, the interim report recommends the Code be made mandatory, with heavy penalties for major breaches.

Currently, there are no penalties for breaches, and because the Code is voluntary, supermarkets can walk away from it at any time.

The interim report notes there is a heavy imbalance in market power between the smaller suppliers and supermarkets, which warrants a strong and effective Code.

The report recommends that the mandatory Code apply to grocery retailers and wholesalers with revenue of $5 billion or more per annum, which would capture the current signatories – Aldi, Coles, Woolworths, and Metcash.

It found that smaller suppliers’ fear of retribution is a major obstacle to the use of the Code and makes recommendations to strengthen protections for complaints including new channels for making informal complaints and access to independent dispute resolution.

The Interim Report of the independent review led by Dr Craig Emerson will be out for consultation until 26 April 2024.

Interested stakeholders are encouraged to make a submission on the Treasury website.

This review is an important part of the Albanese Government’s big and broad competition reform agenda which includes an ACCC inquiry into supermarket prices, a $1.1 million boost in funding for supermarket price monitoring by CHOICE and a comprehensive review of the nation’s competition policy settings with a focus on easing the cost of living for middle Australia.

Dr Emerson will deliver his final recommendations to the Government by 30 June 2024.

/Public Release. View in full here.