ENSURING markets delivered fair and equitable returns to all participants was a common goal among some generally uncommon bedfellows at a horticulture session during the National Farmers Federation (NFF) Conference in Canberra last month.
NFF Horticulture Council hosted the session to explore shared competition policy reform priorities and opportunities.
Spokespersons from the Australian Council of Trades Unions (ACTU), Apple and Pears Australia Ltd (APAL), Master Grocers of Australia and economic research institution e61 made up the panel.
The panel included:
NFF Horticulture Council chair, Jolyon Burnett, said competition reform is so important for growers.
"Many are seeing their margins squeezed and squeezed and after droughts, fires, floods and COVID, they are not doing well financially or mentally," Mr Burnett said.
"If consumers want to support Australian growers and Australian grown, we really need meaningful competition reform.
"The public should not be fooled into thinking that if supermarkets are paying their growers less, that this flows through to consumers.
"Recent profit announcements show that most of the benefit is flowing back to the supermarket shareholders, not consumers.
"Both consumers and growers are the losers."
He said the case for competition policy reform remains as strong as ever.
"But as with anything, timing is critical and, on that front, a lot of things are lining up," Mr Burnett said.
"Despite these things lining up, the difficult task of effecting reform, in the face of intense pressure from those most comfortable with the status quo, will require collaboration from interests across the economy including the public."
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