Appointment – Independent Reviewer, Food And Grocery Code
The Albanese Government has reappointed Mr Christopher (Chris) Leptos AO as the part-time Independent Reviewer of the Food and Grocery Code (the Code) for a three-year period.
The Code was introduced in 2015 to lift the standard of commercial conduct between the major supermarkets, wholesalers, and their suppliers. On 3 October 2020, further amendments were introduced to improve the operation of the Code, which included enhancing dispute resolution processes available to suppliers by requiring signatories to appoint Code Arbiters with the authority to resolve supplier complaints and issue binding compensation orders of up to $5 million. Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, and Metcash are signatories to the Code and are bound by it.
A government appointed Independent Reviewer role was also established to review complaints to ensure that suppliers are afforded due process throughout the dispute resolution process.
Mr Leptos was appointed as the Independent Reviewer of the Code in August 2021. During this time, he has worked collaboratively with the signatories, Code Arbiters, industry peak bodies and individual suppliers to promote compliance with the Code. His annual survey of suppliers and signatories, as well as his annual report has helped to shine a spotlight on instances of poor conduct so that they can be addressed before such problems become systemic. Further information on the role of the Independent Reviewer can be found at grocerycodereviewer.gov.au.
The Government has also commenced the 2023-24 review of the Code provisions to ensure that they remain effective in fostering a vibrant and competitive food and grocery sector in Australia. Have your say and become involved in the public consultation process by visiting treasury.gov.au/review/food-and-grocery-code-of-conduct-review-2023.