02 March 2015

Speech: Food and Grocery Code of Conduct

The Federal Government has moved to ensure fair and transparent commercial dealings between retailers, wholesalers and suppliers in the Australian grocery sector by creating a Food and Grocery Code of Conduct.

Today’s announcement of the introduction of the Competition and Consumer (Industry Codes—Food and Grocery) Regulation 2015 will improve commercial relationships throughout the entire supply chain of Australia’s grocery sector.

The Code will ensure that relationships between retailers and suppliers are built on good faith and help them work together to achieve positive outcomes for the health and vitality of our grocery sector and the good of Australian consumers.

Please find a transcript of my speech to Parliament today and a video.

Thank you Mr Deputy Speaker. Small business is the engine room of our economy – and so important in rural and regional Australia – to jobs, families and the prosperity of country communities.

That’s why our government has instituted the Harper review into competition policy.

That’s why we are fighting the petrol companies which are inflicting unfair fuel prices in places like Colac, or more correctly price gouging.

That’s why we are tackling food labelling.

That’s why I am advocating new measures to combat price discrimination – so that small businesses are not forced to the wall by the extraordinary market power – or the abuse of that market power – by the likes of the large supermarkets.

We have seen some disgraceful unconscionable conduct from Coles – making illegal demands for rebates from suppliers. I have been contacted about similarly unconscionable conduct from Woolworths.

Congratulations to Small Business Minister, Bruce Billson, who has today announced a new Food and Grocery Code of Conduct to ensure fair and transparent commercial dealings between retailers, wholesalers and suppliers in the Australian grocery sector.

The Code will require minimum standards of behaviour when dealing with suppliers, a prohibition against threatening suppliers and an obligation to enter into grocery supply agreements in writing.

In contrast to the Labor Party which was not prepared to tackle these hard issues, this is yet one more example of how we are standing up for small businesses, for family enterprise, for jobs and regional Australia.

2 March 2015