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Mark Vaile refuses to "take on" the supermarket giants.



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Gavan O'Connor MP MEMBER FOR CORIO SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES

7 July 2005

MARK VAILE REFUSES TO “TAKE ON” THE SUPERMARKET GIANTS

New Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile has displayed all the backbone of a jellyfish in his decision to side with the major supermarket chains against the interests of fruit and vegetable growers and consumers.

Ever since former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson was forced to adopt Labor’s policy on a mandatory code of conduct governing the relationships between growers, wholesalers and supermarkets during the election campaign, the Howard Government has back-peddled as fast as it can away from the commitment.

During the election campaign John Anderson said: “A re-elected Coalition Government will impose a mandatory Code of Conduct in the horticulture industry. The code will give producers a fairer deal on their terms of trade and on resolving disputes with produce buyers, which are in many instances large supermarket chains.” (John Anderson press release 1 October 2004)

Yesterday Mark Vaile made the following statements in relation to the matter at his press conference: “I do believe that initially they should be structuring a voluntary code of conduct.”

“I think that the preference that we should take is that there shouldn’t be intervention from government.”

“I think that the industry players should police that properly themselves.”

Earlier this week Mr Vaile told the ABC’s Country Hour: “It is not government policy to support further regulation of the…retail sectors.” (ABC Country Hour - 4 July 2005)

The current voluntary code has been found by the Joint Select Committee on the Retailing Sector’s 1999 report entitled “Fair market or Market Failure” and the 2003 Review of the Retail Grocery Industry Code of Conduct (The Buck Report) to have completely failed. Both these reviews recommended a mandatory code.

At least it is now clear to farmers that they will get no support from the jellybacks in the National Party when it comes to standing up to the big supermarket chains.

Another broken election promise from the Howard Government.

Contact Gavan O’Connor on 0418 518 528 Bernie Eades on 0419 664 016