The NFF regards competition within the marketplace as a major driver of industry innovation, investment and international competitiveness. It is critical that competition laws are effective at maintaining and improving competition across the agricultural supply chain.
Agriculture relies upon open and transparent marketplaces that promote competition within agricultural supply chains, thus enabling farmers to get the best price for their produce. The farming sector is fragmented, made up of small to medium sized businesses in remote areas with limited access to market information. Fluctuations in input costs, limitations in infrastructure and the perishable nature of produce leave some farmers in an economically vulnerable position.
Currently, the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA) does not provide sufficient protection against anti-competitive behaviour from firms with substantial market power. The government commissioned an independent review of competition legislation, the Harper Review, in 2015. The review looked at competition policy across the economy and focussed on Section 46 and the proposed effects test. NFF supports the vast majority of the suggested recommendations.
To ensure a fair, competitive and transparent marketplace, the NFF supports the following measures:
- Raise awareness about the Agricultural Enforcement and Engagement Unit and provide resources for small businesses to facilitate their engagement in the ACCC processes.
- Ensure proposed changes to the Horticulture Code of Conduct and other Code of Conducts relevant to agriculture are implemented and monitored to assist farmers in dealings across the supply chain.