Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey spoke in the Federal Parliament last week in support of an historic inquiry to give farmers improved bargaining power across supply chains.
“The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) inquiry will begin next Monday August 31 and provide recommendations by December,” he said. “The inquiry will identify issues in the domestic fresh food and dairy supply chain, from the farmgate right through to the supermarket.
“The supply chain for fresh foods such as meat (beef, lamb, pork, chicken), eggs, seafood, fruit and vegetables needs to be able to deliver certainty for farmers and ensure our producers are treated fairly by the major retailers.
“Certainly, the competitive nature of Australia’s marketing system provides some of the best quality, cheapest and safest food in the world and that is a good thing. However, if we want to ensure our fabulous food production system prospers, we must ensure everyone gets a fair deal.”
“That is why the Government is committed to fighting for a fair go for farmers and this inquiry will address some long held concerns about bargaining imbalances and the misuse, and in some cases the abuse, of this power by some sections of the fresh food supply chain.”
Mr Ramsey used his speech to urge the inquiry to take a broad approach to examining some of the obstacles in the path to market for producers.
“This is an opportunity for the ACCC to look at issues like the costs of compliance, transport costs and the costs of compliance in that industry as well. I would hope also they take the opportunity to examine the effects on producers of what I call the “fake news” in advertising. This is the situation where products are promoted as being “free of this or that component” which delivers the underlying message that competitor’s products that do, are somehow less healthy or more harmful to the environment without having any serious scientific research to back the statement.
“This Inquiry will provide farmers across all food producing sectors with an opportunity to submit evidence, raise concerns and share their own experiences in the domestic marketplace.
“I strongly encourage local farmers and agribusinesses to take this opportunity, while it’s available, and contribute to this important inquiry. The ACCC has guaranteed that the Inquiry will accept confidential submissions so that farmers can provide evidence of harmful practices without the fear of punishment and retribution by the major supermarkets.”
“This inquiry is not designed to regulate food prices. Instead, it will identify problems and recommend policy options – including a possible all-encompassing Agricultural Code – if appropriate.
“The Coalition is committed to fighting for regional and rural Australia, and we will always advocate for fairer treatment of our farmers.
The ACCC will commence its Inquiry on Monday 31 August and will report to the Government by 30 November. Visit the ACCC website for more information.
Media Contact: Leonie Lloyd-Smith 08 86331744 August 25, 2020