6 June 2015
Media Release - #2015049, 2015

Statement on Woolworths committing to the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct.

I welcome the decision by Woolworths to commit to The Competition and Consumer (Industry Codes—Food and Grocery) Regulation 2015 – The Food and Grocery Code of Conduct.

Woolworths Chief executive Grant O’Brien has made a formal commitment for the company to become a signatory to the Code commencing on July 1, 2015.

I have been encouraged by the positive statements of intention from both Coles and Aldi to also sign on to this supermarket industry led Code. I urge Metcash to join them in this initiative to improve commercial relationships throughout the entire supply chain of Australia’s grocery sector.

The Code was prescribed on the 26th of February 2015, has passed the House of Representatives and is expected to pass the Senate when it reconvenes later this month.

The Code will ensure that relationships between retailers and suppliers are built on good faith and help them work together to achieve positive outcomes for the health and vitality of our grocery sector and the good of Australian consumers.

The Code applies to retailers and wholesalers, and features:

  • an obligation to enter into grocery supply agreements in writing;
  • minimum standards of behaviour in dealings with suppliers, including an obligation to act in good faith and a prohibition against threatening suppliers with business disruption or termination without reasonable grounds; and
  • dispute resolution mechanisms to assist suppliers in resolving disputes.

The Code is comprehensive and covers contractual dealings such as supplier funded promotions, labelling, shelf space and positioning, intellectual property and payments for wastage.

The Government is committed to ensuring Australia is the very best place to start and grow a business.

When businesses become signatories to this code, they are signalling their commitment to growing Australian business, ensuring healthy competition, and undertaking best practice commercial behaviour.