NFF says 'competition review welcome but must deliver outcomes'

23 August 2023

Farmers across Australia have welcomed today’s announcement of a Competition Taskforce to review Australia’s competition policy settings.

Farmers have long identified concentrated markets and supply chains as a handbrake to the economy with small businesses and consumers feeling the impact.

“Australia has a competition problem – there’s not enough of it,” said NFF President Fiona Simson.

“A vibrant, competitive economy is essential for farmers, consumers, and small businesses alike. It is an essential ingredient in long-term productivity growth, higher wages and lower cost-of-living. Unfortunately, recent years have seen the opposite with increasing market concentration and reducing competition across the economy.”

The NFF has long called for action on the increasing rate of market concentration and lack of competition across Australia’s economy. This review is a step in the right direction and offers a key opportunity to act on competition reform.

But farmers warn that it is essential this review delivers more than hot air.

“This week’s Intergenerational Report warns of the looming impact of sluggish productivity growth. If we don’t act now, Australia risks missing out on realising our potential. That means lower incomes, higher prices and poorer standards of living,” explained Ms Simson.

“We need action and a government that’s willing to put its money where its mouth is. The review must deliver practical outcomes on a range of policy issues, including unfair business practices and access to justice mechanisms, mergers and acquisitions, the capability of the ACCC, and systematic barriers to entry in the Australian economy.”

“Australians pay some of the highest prices in the world for groceries. Staggering for a country that is a world-leader in the production of cost-effective food. The problem is our food supply chains are controlled by a handful of organisations with significant market power, putting farmers and consumers at a disadvantage.

“For long-term business productivity and food affordability, we need effective competition policies that ensure small businesses and consumers get a fair go in the Australian economy,” Ms Simson concluded.