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Coalition beefs up farmer, fisher and forester bargaining power, slashes red tape.



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DAFF04/175WT - 24 June 2004

Coalition beefs up farmer, fisher and forester bargaining power, slashes red tape

Australian farmers, fishers and foresters are to have their hand strengthened in dealings with big business including the supermarkets, Australian Agriculture Minister Warren Truss announced today.

New collective bargaining arrangements will be enshrined and predatory pricing clauses strengthened in legislation to be introduced into the Australian Parliament today by the Howard/Anderson Government as part of a major package of amendments to the Trade Practices Act 1974.

"As I travel around Australia meeting with farmers, one of the most common complaints I hear is that they fear the power of the big businesses with which they deal," Mr Truss said.

"Today the Coalition Government demonstrates that it has listened and the big business fear factor will be wound back for rural and regional small business.

"Collective bargaining gives farming, fishing and forestry small businesses a stronger bargaining position in negotiations with big business," Mr Truss said.

"Today's changes are about giving greater confidence to the small businesspeople who underpin the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors.

"The Coalition Government's changes to the Trade Practices Act will also reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses including those involved in agriculture, fishing, food processing and wood and paper manufacturing," Mr Truss said.

"Most changes are designed to clarify the prohibition on the misuse of market power and extend the application of the prohibition of unconscionable conduct in business transactions in sections 46 and 51AC of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

"Section 46 of the Act will be amended to provide some additional guidance to courts in the consideration of predatory pricing cases.

"The maximum fine for corporations found to be engaging in anti-competitive behaviour will be increased to the greater of $10 million or three times the value of the benefit from the anti-competitive conduct, or where the value cannot be determined, 10 per cent of the annual turnover of the body corporate and all its related bodies (if any)."

For more information: www.treasurer.gov.au

PRIMARY INDUSTRIES TO BENEFIT FROM COLLECTIVE BARGAINING LEGISLATION

Vegetable growing Grain growing Cattle Sheep Dairy Egg Poultry Pig

Horse Sugarcane Cotton Plant nurseries Cotton ginning Forestry Logging Rock Lobster fishing Prawn fishing Finfish trawling Line fishing Meat processing Poultry processing Bacon, ham and smallgoods manufacturing Milk and cream processing Bread manufacturing Winemaking Spirit manufacturing Log sawmilling and timber dressing Fertiliser manufacturing Wool wholesaling Ceareal grain wholesaling Farm produce and supplies wholesaling Farming machinery wholesaling

Further media inquiries:

Minister Truss' office: Tim Langmead - 02 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433