Group seeks strong ac­tion

Central and North Burnett Times - - FENCE POST -

GROW­COM is not happy with the im­bal­ance of bar­gain­ing power be­tween su­per­mar­kets and sup­pli­ers and has called for change.

Grow­com chief ad­vo­cate Rachel Mackenzie said Grow­com was un­con­vinced the im­bal­ance of bar­gain­ing power be­tween su­per­mar­kets and sup­pli­ers was prop­erly ad­dressed.

“Grow­com has re­peat­edly ar­gued that the fruit and veg­etable sec­tor is characterised by a large num­ber of small sup­pli­ers trad­ing in a highly per­ish­able prod­uct, which puts the in­dus­try at a unique dis­ad­van­tage in ne­go­ti­at­ing fair terms with re­tail­ers,” she said.

“The gen­eral con­sen­sus from grow­ers who sup­ply the ma­jor re­tail­ers, about this vol­un­tary Code, is that there are too many caveats and op­por­tu­ni­ties for al­ter­na­tives to be ne­go­ti­ated.

“If the fun­da­men­tal is­sue cen­tres on a lack of power at the ne­go­ti­a­tion ta­ble, then small sup­pli­ers are hardly likely to be able to ar­gue against sup­ply agree­ments that are not in their favour.

“The dis­pute res­o­lu­tion mech­a­nism is too weak and does not ad­dress the in­her­ent is­sues of im­bal­ance of power as it is too re­liant on an in-house com­plaints pro­ce­dure.

“The vol­un­tary Code as it stands has no teeth to do what it was writ­ten to do.

“We’d like to ask the Se­nate Com­mit­tee how ... no change was needed, given the num­ber of voices call­ing for stronger reg­u­la­tion.”

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