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  • Writer's pictureCrest Economics

Tightening regulations for Australian Supermarkets- June 2024

📈Tightening regulations for Australian Supermarkets- June 2024 📈

Mandatory behaviour codes for Australian supermarkets has recently been confirmed by the Australian Government, promising fines of up to $10m.

Based on a review conducted by former Labour Minister Dr Craig Emerson, the voluntary codes of conduct that supermarkets established themselves a decade ago will now become mandatory with tougher restrictions on making unreasonable demands from suppliers. This acts in the spirit of suppliers who may fear retribution from supermarkets if they raise concerns or exercise their rights, creating anti-competitive behaviours. Additionally, now, rather than instantly undertaking an arbitration process, the mandatory code requires supermarkets to appoint mediators, and have independent arbitration be available as a last resort to make decisions. Specifically, this code applies to supermarkets with annual revenue over $5bn (i.e. Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and Metcash). In conjunction to fines up to $10m, breaches can also include three times the benefit gained from the contravening conduct or 10% of annual turnover. For less serious breaches, the ACCC is entitled to issuing up-front infringement notices worth up to $187,800.

Separately, the government has asked the ACCC to study supermarket pricing, with an interim report due by the end of August. Further, the government has also commissioned quarterly price monitoring reports from consumer advocacy group Choice, in this effort to achieve effective supermarket regulation reform.

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