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Farmers back call for 'effects test'

1 April 2015

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed the Harper Review of competition legislation recommendations backing up the NFF’s call for an ‘effects test’ – aimed at rebalancing power between large supermarkets and farmers.

NFF CEO Simon Talbot said the report to government is an important step toward reforms that will underpin Australia’s competitiveness for the next 20 years.

“The Harper Review is an important opportunity to improve competitiveness, increase returns to the farm gate and ensure transparency across the supply chain,” Mr Talbot said.

“The Final Report recommends a number of sound, evidence-based settings that move us toward those goals.

“The NFF has for some time sought amendments that focus on protecting competition across the supply chain. Ineffective competition legislation can have a particularly detrimental effect on farmers and the agricultural sector.

“That’s why we have supported the establishment of an ‘effects test’ to address the issue of misuse of market power.

“If used to replace the existing purpose test, an ‘effects test’ could shift the onus of consideration from a company’s purpose in undertaking conduct to the effects that conduct has had on any given marketplace.

“Other recommendations in the report include the removal of cabotage, which would improve access to coastal trading – easing pressure on our roads and making Australian exports more competitive. We strongly support the move, and believe it will go a long way towards reducing coastal shipping costs for farmers.

“We look forward to working with our members and government to ensure Australian farmers get the most from these reforms.”

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