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Food and Grocery Code interim report too slow amid cost-of-living crisis

Leader of The Nationals David Littleproud has criticised Labor for being out of touch,
following the release of an interim report into the Food and Grocery Code which
recommends part of what The Nationals offered the government to implement more than
15 months ago.
Mr Littleproud said while recommendations including larger fines with enforcement and a
mandatory Code were offered by The Nationals over a year ago, the broader suggestions
won’t address all the issues consumers and farmers are facing.
Mr Littleproud said the final report led by Dr Craig Emerson due on June 30 is also still too far away and just another delay during a cost-of-living crisis.
“The Nationals wrote to Labor more than 15 months ago offering bipartisan support, urging
Labor to take action on supermarket price gouging, which impacts almost every single
Australian,” Mr Littleproud said.
“Instead, Labor allowed families and farmers to be ripped off, because it was too focused on
a $450 million failed Referendum. Labor is out of touch with the real decisions Australians
are making at the supermarket every day.”
Mr Littleproud wrote to Assistant Minister for Competition Andrew Leigh in December, 2022,
requesting to bring forward the Food and Grocery Code Review.
Mr Littleproud also suggested implementing the Australian Competition and Consumer
Commission’s (ACCC) recommendations, that the Food and Grocery Code be strengthened,
including by making it mandatory and introducing significant penalties.
“The Nationals tried to bring forward the much-needed review more than a year ago and
support big stick legislation back in 2022, but we were ignored.
“Now the Chair of the ACCC Gina Cass-Gottlieb last week said she would welcome ‘those
powers in the toolkit’
, you have to wonder why Labor keeps ignoring exploring sensible ways
to give the ACCC those tools.
“It was obvious there was a cost-of-living crisis in 2022, when I requested that Mr Leigh
commence the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct, it’s just that Labor didn’t realise it.
“Even once the Review was announced, it took Labor 100 days to appoint a Reviewer. The
review could have been done and dusted, with decisions already implemented, to help
families and farmers since last year.”

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