Australia appoints Independent Reviewer of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct

Australia appoints Independent Reviewer of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct

The Australian Government has appointed Dr Craig Emerson to lead the 2023-24 review of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct (the Code) to ensure that the supermarket sector is working as it should.

The Food and Grocery code is prescribed under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Aldi, Coles, Woolworths and Metcash are signatories to the Code and are bound by it.

The Code was introduced to improve standards of business behaviour in the food and grocery sector. The Code regulates the conduct of these retailers and wholesalers towards suppliers.

Dr Craig Emerson

Dr Emerson was the Federal Minister for Small Business from 2007-2010 and Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs from 2009-2010. He was Minister for Trade from 2010-2013. He is a former Queensland Government Director-General and Senior Economic Adviser to Prime Minister Bob Hawke.

The Government has also released the Review of the dispute resolution provisions (Part 5) of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct and the Government’s response to the review.

The Government supports all of the recommendations in the Review to amend the Code to:

  • Enable Code Arbiters to mediate and allow suppliers to contact and seek preliminary information from Code Arbiters without making a formal complaint, and
  • Enhance the Independent Reviewer’s role in overseeing the conduct and complaint handling practices of the Code Arbiters.

The recommendations will be implemented as part of a broader package of reforms to the Code following the conclusion of the 2023-24 review of the remaining provisions of the Code.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said: “We are tackling the cost of living and ensuring Australian families have an economy that works for them.

“We have been clear – if the price for meat and fruit and vegetables is going down at the farm gate then families should be seeing cheaper prices on supermarket shelves too.

“Supermarkets have a duty to make sure they’re providing affordable options for all Australians, especially when they’re making savings on their own costs.

“We’ve made looking after consumers a key priority over the past 18 months and we’ll keep looking at every option to make sure Australians aren’t paying more than they should or getting less than they deserve.

“If there are further steps that are needed then the Government will not hesitate to take action.”

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