Release of ACCC perishable agricultural goods inquiry report

The Morrison Government has today released the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC’s) report into bargaining power imbalances in the domestic supply chains of perishable agricultural goods in Australia.

This follows a direction by the Government to the ACCC in August in response to concerns of harmful conduct in the perishable agricultural goods industry.

The ACCC’s inquiry found examples of one-sided contracting practices, commercial retribution, inefficient allocation of risk and a lack of price transparency.

In particular, the ACCC indicated that as a result of matters identified during the inquiry, it will conduct further compliance activity with respect to a range of alleged unfair contract terms in the chicken meat industry and alleged non-compliance by horticulture wholesalers within the Horticulture Code.

At the same time, the ACCC identified positive developments arising from the Dairy Code, including evidence of competition among processors on raw milk prices after prices were announced on 1 June 2020 and that written agreements were in operation across a vast majority of processors.

The Government is progressing a number of initiatives that support the findings and recommendations of the ACCC, including legislation to strengthen unfair contract term protections under the Australian Consumer Law, enhancing the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct and improving price transparency for the dairy industry under the Dairy Code.

The Government would like to thank participants who provided input to the inquiry, with over 80 written and oral submissions received.

The Government is committed to a vibrant and sustainable market-based agricultural sector and will consider the ACCC findings and recommendations in detail.

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