Consumer watchdog the ACCC has given urgent authorisation to poultry giant Ingham’s Group and other chicken processors to work together, to reduce the impact of Covid-19 on the poultry industry during the the stage 4 lockdown in Victoria.
Ingham’s, Turosi, Hazeldene’s Chicken Farm and the Australian Chicken Meat Federation will apply measures in their factories that will ensure the supply of chickens and chicken meat. The companies will also ensure job losses are minimised and will support their suppliers by coordinating their collective processing capacity, essential staff, facilities and products.
“We will be carefully monitoring the conduct of chicken processors under this authorisation, and it is our expectation that any arrangements do not disadvantage chicken [farmers]. This authorisation does not override any contractual obligations processors have with growers,” said ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh.
“Additionally, our decision will assist the chicken-meat industry to make arrangements that keep staff employed who would otherwise have been laid off or adversely impacted by the additional restrictions.”
ACCC said in a statement this move does not apply to product and service pricing supplied or acquired by chicken processors. It was a voluntary move by the poultry businesses to work together and the companies are required to notify the consumer watchdog on decisions and updates.
Ingham’s is seeking final authorisation until December 31 however the ACCC can revoke the interim approval at any time.