National Farmers' Federation

Effects test legislation early Christmas present for farm sector

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) welcomes the introduction of legislation to introduce an effects test into Australian competition law as an early Christmas present for the farm sector,” the Chief Executive Officer Tony Mahar said.
“The NFF has long supported the introduction of an effects test into competition law in Australia,” Mr Mahar said.
“Australia’s farming sector is comprised of a large number of small players that are geographically dispersed and have close supply chain relationships with much bigger entities that are able to use their scale and proximity to squeeze farm gate returns.
“Most of these relationships work well most of the time but when they don’t the financial impact can be severe for individual farmers.
“The NFF recognises that suppliers and buyers depend on food and fibre producers for the sustainability of their own businesses. But sometimes farmers get squeezed by other businesses trying to do the best for their shareholders.
“Australian food and fibre producers are not asking for protection from the cut and thrust of competition. We are merely seeking a level playing field in the supply chain. Revitalisation of Australia’s competition laws, particularly s46, will ensure that happens.
“This reform will bring Australian competition law in relation to misuse of market of power closer to the formulations used in other countries.
“We urge the Parliament early in the new year sittings to vote in favour of this important reform.
“The NFF also urges the Government to bring on other elements of reform suggested in the Harper Review for debate in the near future. Competition policy is too important to leave on the backburner. We need to reinvigorate economic reform to make the Australian economy the envy of the world once more.”

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