February 18, 2013
The Victorian Farmers Federation welcomes competition watchdog chief Rod Sims conditional support for a supermarket code of conduct, backed by penalties. “We’re glad to hear Mr Sims has given conditional support for a supermarket code of conduct, backed by penalties,” VFF president Peter Tuohey said. “We need a mandated code of conduct and a supermarket ombudsman to address the impact of supermarkets’ pricing decisions.” The VFF’s dairy farmers, fruit and vegetable growers have been at the forefront of calls to increase the ACCC’s powers to reign in the supermarkets. “Farmers have been calling for the supermarket duopoly’s powers to be curbed for years,” Mr Tuohey said. “Farmers have been forced to squeeze their margins to dangerous levels because of the power these retail giants wield.” Media outlets reported today that Mr Sims was considering taking legal action following the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s investigation into 50 suppliers’ allegations that the supermarkets were abusing their power and engaged in unconscionable conduct. Mr Sims listed a raft of allegations against the supermarkets at a Senate estimates committee hearing this week, where he said the supermarkets; • Made threats to remove suppliers’ products from shelves if extra payments aren’t paid. • Failure to pay prices agreed with suppliers • Discriminated against products in favour of their own home-brand products. Mr Sims also told the senate estimates hearing he was concerned about the impact of the supermarkets’ shopper-docket discounts on the retail petrol market. “We’ve seen country towns where the supermarkets dominate the market, and petrol prices remain at the same high price for months on end,” Mr Tuohey said.