CHOICE calls for new supermarket industry ombudsman
New champion for consumers, farmers & independents
CHOICE is calling for a new supermarket industry ombudsman to tackle competition and fairness across the grocery sector.
The supermarket ombudsman would deliver much needed leadership on reforming the sector; monitoring fair rules and fair play; undertaking early stage market inquiries; promoting consumer information and consolidating existing resolution functions. Leadership – to ensure competition and fairness is driven at a national level so that real improvement can be brought about in the next five years not the next 50.
Fair rules and fair play – that regulators enforce their rules and, if not sufficient, to suggest rule changes.
Early stage market inquiries – to research and recommend where parts of the market are not working efficiently.
Consumer information – arming consumers with the right information and supporting consumer education on unit pricing.
Consolidate existing functions – avoid duplication while making sense of existing schemes, including the produce and grocery industry ombudsman and other codes including horticulture.
The all-in-one body has an international precedent with the similar structure being developed by the UK’s Competition Commission.
“There is a need for real leadership on resolving supermarket issues in Australia – rip-off prices, endemic unfairness and the lowest level of competition possible. There is a need for government to seriously consider a bold and robust policy that will bring about real change, not the window shopping currently taking place,” said CHOICE CEO Nick Stace.
“These are industry-specific problems, which economy-wide regulators have been unable or unwilling to tackle head on. It will go on like this for another 100 years unless radical and bold action is taken,” said CHOICE CEO Nick Stace.
CHOICE has been actively campaigning on the issue of grocery competition since last year. It is an issue that regularly tops its survey of member concerns.
This week the consumer group launched a website Checkout CHOICE to provide a forum for consumers and others to express their concerns.
Media enquiries: Christopher Zinn 0425 296 442