GRAIN Producers Australia (GPA) has welcomed the new Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Agriculture Consultative Committee, describing it as an important step for agriculture in the Australian economy.
The new committee, which features 24 members from across all major agricultural commodity groups, will advise the ACCC on agricultural competition issues.
GPA chairman Andrew Weidemann said his organisation had advocated strongly for greater recognition of agricultural issues within Australia’s competition law framework and the need for
specific industry expertise inside the ACCC as the regulator.
Mr Weidemann said while there had been deregulation in the grains industry there were still competition issues in segments of the supply chain.
“Being faced with monopoly, or near-monopoly, suppliers of services in some cases can present major challenges,” he said.
“While having the ACCC to manage these situations is correct under our system of competition law, we have been extremely concerned that the organisation should have maximum capability to grasp the nature of the issues brought forward.”
He said the experience of the new committee in dealing with issues specific to the industry would benefit the ACCC.
“The appointment of the Agriculture Commissioner, Mick Keogh, and now the Agriculture Consultative Committee will provide much greater resource when examining issues such as the recent Brookfield-Asciano rail case,” he said.
NSW grain grower Dan Cooper has been appointed to the Agriculture Consultative Committee after being nominated by GPA.
Mr Cooper said he believed the board was a sound initiative.
“It is good the ACCC will be able to take on board advice from those that are involved in the agriculture space.”