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ACCC food supply-chain competition probe hailed as ‘a great initiative’

Australia’s fresh-food supply chain is set to come under scrutiny.
Australia’s fresh-food supply chain is set to come under scrutiny.

An inquiry into “harmful imbalances” in the fresh-food supply chain launched by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been welcomed by sectors within the industry.

The investigation will look into discrepancies in bargaining power among farmers, processors, distributors, retailers and other participants in domestic supply chains for perishable agricultural goods nationally – including meat, poultry, seafood and horticulture goods not already covered by a mandatory industry code.

“We believe dairy producers are in an invidious position at the bottom of the supply chain and any light that can be shone on attitudes and activities will be most welcome,” said Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Minister of Agriculture David Littleproud during the announcement of the inquiry, which they said “will also examine whether the Dairy Mandatory Code needs to be enhanced or strengthened to ensure additional protection within the dairy supply chain.”

“From our perspective, this is a great initiative from the Federal Government,” said Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan. “The ACCC will not be seeking to set prices but will be critically examining behaviours between key parties in the supply chain.

According to the respective ministers, the Australian administration is asking the ACCC to examine whether imbalances in bargaining relationships exist and the degree to which these imbalances can be resolved via current laws.

The commission’s report is expected to be submitted by November 30.

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