Joint media release with
The Hon Anthony Albanese MP
Prime Minister of Australia
The Hon Jim Chalmers MP
The Hon Murray Watt MP
Minister for Emergency Management
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Appointment of Dr Craig Emerson as Independent Reviewer of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct
The Albanese 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 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.
Today, 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
- 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.
You can have your say on the 2023-24 review and become involved in the public consultation process by visiting the Treasury website.
The Review of the dispute resolution provisions (Part 5) of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct can be found on the Treasury website along with the Government’s response to the Review.
Quotes attributable to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese:
“We are tackling 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.”
Quotes attributable to Treasurer Jim Chalmers:
“We expect all companies to treat Australian consumers fairly including in the food and grocery sector.
“As a Government we’re taking a fresh look at the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct to make sure the sector is giving consumers and suppliers a fair deal.
“When the price of meat and fruit and veggies comes down for supermarkets, it should come down for families as well – it’s a big chance for the big supermarkets to do the right thing.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt:
“We’ve been making clear for many months now that retailers should start dropping their prices to reflect the reduction in prices farmers are getting for their produce.
“Farmers deserve a fair price for their hard work and the some of the prices supermarkets are charging just don’t pass the pub test.
“While the Government is getting on with taking action on the cost of groceries, the ball is in the court of the big retailers.
“They don’t have to wait until this review is finalised to drop their prices, they can do that right now to help Australian families doing it tough.”
Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities And Treasury Andrew Leigh:
“Craig Emerson is one of Australia’s top policy economists, and will bring his wisdom and compassion to this vital economic reform. Dr Emerson’s work will form an important part of the wider review of policy settings that’s being led by the Competition Taskforce.
“In the 1990s, the Keating Government’s competition reforms raised household incomes by $5000. History shows competition reforms can change lives for the better.
“Capitalism depends on competition. Monopolies gouge consumers and workers, and undermine fairness. Competition means better prices and more choice for Australian families.”