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Coles Supermarkets bullying of suppliers shows the need for a Mandatory Supermarket Code of Conduct

Greens spokesperson on Consumer Affairs, Competition Policy and Small Business, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson provides the following comments on today’s developments in the ongoing case between Coles Supermarkets and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “The bullying of producers and suppliers by the supermarket duopoly has to stop. It is unbelievable to think that even when Coles admits multiple examples of wrongdoing they still try and deny their role in a wider problem.

“The day the Government celebrated the release of its voluntary supermarket code of conduct the Greens stood with Ausveg and stated only a mandatory code was acceptable.

 “We need a mandatory supermarket code of conduct and we need it now. The Government’s Review into Competition Policy won’t be acted on for years. The Liberals are hanging small businesses in this country out to dry.

“It’s time for the Government to stop sitting on their hands. There is ample evidence of bad corporate behaviour that is hurting small business. The time for reviews is over.

“The ACCC admitted at Senate Estimates recently that there were too many holes in the current voluntary provisions to reign in errant behaviour from the big two.

“The longer this policy mess goes on, the more the duopoly will continue to hurt small business.

“Only a few weeks ago Minister Barnaby Joyce told vegetable growers that, “My personal desire is to make the (retail) code mandatory for everybody."

“If the Agriculture Minister is serious about stopping producers getting ripped off by the supermarket duopoly, he should stop waffling and take a proposal to Cabinet.

“The Greens have an effective policy on tackling the supermarket duopoly that we took to the last election. If it would help the Agriculture Minister act more quickly, we would be happy to send it to him,” Senator Whish-Wilson concluded.

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