Sunday, January 27, 2013

An ombudsman for supermarkets?

Major supermarkets in Australia may come under pressure if the Labor Goverrnment loses power at this year's national election. The National Party is believed to be about to introduce a policy for a specialist regulator to oversee the industry.

A party room meeting on February 1 is expected to endorse the establishment of a regulator to try to curb the powers of the grocery duopoly, Coles and Woolworths. It will be similar to the establishment of Britain's first supermarket regulator which has power to fine the 10 biggest supermarkets if they have been found to have unfairly treated their suppliers. They are required to comply with a new code of conduct.

Understandably, both Coles and Woolworths don't like the prospect, preferring self-regulation. The current Labor Government agrees with them and has ruled out any legislative change.

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