ED HUSIC MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND RESOURCES
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR CHIFLEY
STEPHEN JONES MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES
MEMBER FOR WHITLAM
Labor welcomes the ACCC report into Perishable Agricultural Goods as a serious investigation into domestic agricultural supply chains.
The inquiry, which was initiated in August this year, reported examples of lack of transparency in price negotiations, unfair contract terms and bad faith commercial practices.
“The inquiry found what Labor and industry have known all along – there are severe bargaining power imbalances between farmers and processors,” said the Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Ed Husic.
This inquiry comes after an 18-month ACCC inquiry into Australia’s dairy industry, which already demonstrated that farmers lack of bargaining power meant that they were vulnerable to unscrupulous commercial practices.
“Based on the Government’s track record we are concerned that the report will just gather dust and not be responded to in a meaningful way,” said Mr Husic.
On Thursday the Government signalled it would begin progressing a number of initiatives that support the recommendations of the ACCC.
“Until the Government provides a formal response to the report it will be difficult for farmers to accept their promises to fix competition laws,” said Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Stephen Jones.
Mr Husic added, “The Government has been slow to act on major issues confronting the sector, including agricultural workforce issues and trade diversification. They don’t have the runs on the board with farmers.”
Labor will review the findings and recommendations of the ACCC report and offer a more detailed response in due course.