Too little and too slow – interim Food and Grocery Code report

NSW Nationals

Nationals Leader David Littleproud has criticised Labor for being out of touch, following the release of an interim report into the Food and Grocery Code.

Mr Littleproud said while recommendations including larger fines with enforcement and a mandatory Code were offered by The Nationals over a year ago, the broader suggestions won’t address all the issues consumers and farmers are facing.

Mr Littleproud said the final report led by Dr Craig Emerson due on June 30 is also still too far away and just another delay during a cost-of-living crisis.

“The Nationals wrote to Labor more than 15 months ago offering bipartisan support, urging Labor to take action on supermarket price gouging, which impacts almost every single Australian,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Instead, Labor allowed families and farmers to be ripped off because it was too focused on a $450 million failed Referendum. Labor is out of touch with the real decisions Australians are making at the supermarket every day.”

Mr Littleproud wrote to Assistant Minister for Competition Andrew Leigh in December 2022, requesting to bring forward the Food and Grocery Code Review.

Mr Littleproud also suggested implementing the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) recommendations, that the Food and Grocery Code be strengthened, including by making it mandatory and introducing significant penalties.

“The Nationals tried to bring forward the much-needed review more than a year ago and support big stick legislation back in 2022, but we were ignored.

“Now the Chair of the ACCC Gina Cass-Gottlieb last week said she would welcome ‘those powers in the toolkit.’ You have to wonder why Labor keeps ignoring exploring sensible ways to give the ACCC those tools.

“It was obvious there was a cost-of-living crisis in 2022, when I requested that Mr Leigh commence the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct, it’s just that Labor didn’t realise it.

“Even once the Review was announced, it took Labor 100 days to appoint a Reviewer. The review could have been done and dusted, with decisions already implemented, to help families and farmers since last year.”

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