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Monday, 9 February 2015
Page: 216

Mr COULTON (ParkesThe Nationals Chief Whip) (16:27): I rise today to express my disappointment at the ACCC's decision not to oppose the merger of JBS Swift and the Primo meat company. Farmers and stock buyers in my electorate are very concerned that this acquisition will dramatically reduce the competition in the market in western New South Wales and western Queensland. I think some of the comments made by ACCC chairman Rod Sims indicated that the ACCC probably did not grasp the nature of the beef industry in that part of the world. One of the statements was that, with two meatworks 500 kilometres apart, there would not be any issue with competition. Livestock move much further distances to market. The other point to make regarding the statement that competition would not be affected is that, if you have two buyers from the same company operating in the same market, I think it would be ridiculous to think that they would actually be bidding against each other.

Primo actually do contract kills for Coles supermarkets. I understand that that will be stopped, which will also reduce competition. One buyer in western New South Wales said that this decision would be like allowing Coles or Woolworths to purchase Aldi. (Time expired)