30 October 2018
Media Release - #2018028, 2018

Grocery Code review calls for fairer dispute resolution for suppliers

The Australian Government today welcomes the release of Professor Graeme Samuel AC's final report on the Review of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct (the Review).

The Government commissioned the Review on 2 March 2018 to examine how effective the voluntary code has been in regulating proper commercial dealings between supermarket retailers or wholesalers and their suppliers.

The Review has benefited from strong industry engagement and has received feedback from a range of stakeholders including from local suppliers, food manufacturers, farmers, retailers, wholesalers, regulators and industry bodies.

The final report found that the code has made a positive contribution to improving relationships in the grocery supply chain and contains 14 recommendations aimed at strengthening the operation of the code. Key recommendations include:

  • Mechanisms to ensure other key players in the industry become signatories to the code, including those in wholesaling;
  • Enhancing the provisions that require signatories to act in good faith towards suppliers and introducing new principles of fair dealings to guide dispute resolution; and
  • The appointment of Code Arbiters to provide arm's length resolution of disputes with the power to make binding decisions and award compensation to suppliers. The final report also recommends that an Independent Reviewer be appointed by the Government to check the integrity of the dispute resolution process.

The Australian Government recognises that a sustainable and resilient food and grocery sector is vital to meet the needs of Australian consumers. The Government will now carefully consider the recommendations in Professor Samuel's final report and consult widely, before providing its response.

Submissions will be open until Wednesday 28 November 2018. For further information please visit the Treasury website.