Labour promises to finalise supermarket code of conduct if re-elected

Federal Agriculture Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon, has announced that Labor would commit to finalising a supermarket code of conduct should the party be re-elected.

Fitzgibbon says that he will appoint an independent mediator to finalise the code which is aimed at ensuring a more level playing field between supermarkets and their suppliers, ABC Rural reports.

At present, Coles and Woolworths are reported to still be in negotiations with peak body, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) over a voluntary code of conduct.

The notion of a voluntary code has come under criticism from various suppliers including The Australian Agricultural Company (AACO) and industry group including the National Farmers Federation which earlier this year pulled out of negotiations arguing the code should be mandatory, not voluntary.

Fitzgibbon says that Labor has plans to work with the National Farmers Federation which would see the creation of a set of standard contracts for the supermarkets and suppliers.

“A food and grocery code has been an empty plate on the table for too long,” said Fitzgibbon.

“Instituting a code will deliver greater transparency for everyone involved in the food supply chain from dairy farmers and fruit growers to producers and consumers.

“The code, combined with the development of standardised contracts, will give our farmers a better starting point to negotiate a fair price for their product.”

Fitzgibbon also confirmed that a national register of all foreign purchases of agricultural land would commence before 1 July, 2014.

"A comprehensive register of foreign-owned agricultural land would clarify the facts in what has been an emotive and political debate," he said.

“For too long foreign investment has been used as a plaything for political advantage.

“A factual register will end the politicking and give the community clarity around the level and nature of foreign ownership of Australian agriculture."


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