AUSVEG, the National Peak Industry Body representing Australia’s vegetable growers have welcome a number of the initiatives outlined in the Greens’ Competition Policy, released this morning in Melbourne by Greens’ competition spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson.

The policy outlines a range of initiatives aimed at increasing competition in the supermarket sector, including the amendment of section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act to ensure that anticompetitive actions are judged on their effect, regardless of whether an intention of anti-competitive behaviour can be proved.

“Current law requires proof of intent to reduce competition, something which is very difficult to establish, and this is often to the detriment of small and middle sized businesses like many Australian vegetable growing operations,” said AUSVEG Chief Executive Officer Richard Mulcahy.

AUSVEG is the leading voice in Australian horticulture, representing 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.

“We are aware that many growers feel that they have been a victim of anti-competitive behaviour in the past, but proving this under current law is difficult. Under the Greens’ plan, if the effects of a purchaser’s action are deemed to have been caused by anti-competitive behaviour, growers will be more equipped to take action through the ACCC,” said Mr Mulcahy.

“The Greens’ initiative also outlines plans to extend the Australian Consumer Law framework surrounding unfair contract terms in business to business agreements, which will assist growers by providing further protection when negotiating contracts,” said Mr Mulcahy.

Also outlined in the Greens’ policy is an initiative to increase consumer choice, particularly regarding supermarket “own” brands.

“AUSVEG would like to see the Greens’ policy adapted to ensure that supermarkets cannot stock product in their “own” or “home brand” lines which are deemed to contain dumped product which has arrived cheaply from overseas to the detriment of local producers,” said Mr Mulcahy.

“As this policy is further developed, we would encourage further consultation with both major retailers to identify where, instead of punitive action, mitigating policies can be developed for the benefit of suppliers and also retailers,” said Mr Mulcahy.

Mob: 0410 047 432 Phone: (03) 9882 0277 Email: