Grain Producers Australia is continuing to call for a proactive and comprehensive analysis of the grains supply chain by the competition watch-dog, following confirmation a scheduled review of the Wheat Port Code has been delayed.
The Federal Department of Agriculture advised last week that the second review of the Wheat Port Code is now required to start by September 2025, rather than September 2022. HERE
The Code is scheduled to sunset (be automatically repealed) on 1 October 2024. The government said it will consider whether to re-make the Code at that time, in the event that it has not already been repealed or remade in response to a review process.
The amendments do not preclude starting the second review sooner than this, the Department advised.
The process of whether to delay the review started more than 12-months ago, with stakeholder consultation under the former Coalition Federal Government.
At the time, GPA said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission conducting a pricing inquiry of the grains supply chain continued to be a priority for growers.
Whilst the new government has advised the Wheat Port Code review has been delayed, we continue to anticipate a response from Agriculture Minister, Murray Watt, to the ACCC inquiry request, and direct engagement, which was central to GPA’s 2022 Federal Election policy priorities and advocacy.
With another large harvest expected, this proactive inquiry can help to inform the government’s response to competition issues, such as the pricing disparity which caused considerable angst during last year’s 62 million tonne harvest.
The Code commenced in 2014 and is a mandatory industry code of conduct, under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
The report from the original Wheat Port Code review process – which started in 2017 – was released on 18 October 2018, making 12 recommendations.
The Government’s response to this report was tabled in Parliament on 15 October 2020 and supported Recommendation 1, that the Code be retained and reviewed again in 2022.
GPA’s submissions to this first review supported the Code’s continuation and improvement to help protect growers, as part of the industry’s ongoing deregulation processes.
GPA supports a ‘health check’ of the market post-deregulation, using the ACCC’s powers and expertise to assess competition matters for the entire grains supply chain, not just wheat.