Australian gov't to penalize supermarkets for anti-competitive behavior under crackdown

Australian gov
# 24 June 2024 03:28 (UTC +04:00)

Australian supermarket chains will face large fines for anti-competitive behavior under new laws.

The federal government on Monday announced it has accepted all the recommendations of a review into the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct and will impose new obligations on large supermarket chains to treat their suppliers fairly.

Under the new laws, legislation for which was introduced to parliament by Treasurer Jim Chalmers on Monday, the code of conduct will be made mandatory for chains with annual revenue exceeding 5 billion Australian dollars (3.3 billion U.S. dollars) after being voluntary for a decade.

Supermarkets will be required to deal with their suppliers in good faith and prevented from penalizing those who complain after the review of the code found that suppliers fear retribution if they raise concerns about a supermarket chain's conduct.

The most severe breaches of the code will be punished with fines worth whichever is greatest out of three times the benefit derived from any misconduct, 10 million AUD (6.6 million USD) or 10 percent of the chain's turnover in the preceding 12 months.

"This is about getting a fair go for families and a fair go for farmers," Chalmers said in a joint statement with Murray Watt, the minister for Agriculture, and Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury Andrew Leigh on Monday.

"We're cracking down on anti-competitive behavior in the supermarkets sector so people get fairer prices at the checkout."

The Woolworths Group and Coles Group, parent companies of supermarket chains Woolworths and Coles, were Australia's second and fourth-largest publicly-traded companies by revenue in 2023.

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