Food and Grocery Council supports “creeping acquisitions” proposal

Posted by Isobel Drake on 2nd September 2008

The Australian Food and Grocery Council, Australia’s peak food and grocery manufacturing industry group, has welcomed the government’s plan to examine creeping acquisitions laws, labelling it a move in the right direction to help address concerns about retail competition issues.

AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell said the release of the Federal Government’s discussion paper calling for public comment on the best way forward on creeping acquisition laws is a win for consumers and industry alike. “Any move to enhance competition can only benefit consumers,” she said. “It is important that the debate surrounding creeping acquisition laws focuses on optimising competition in the retail sector. A competitive and innovative retail sector is essential to ensure that best prices, product range and quality are available to meet consumer’s needs and expectations.”

Ms Carnell emphasised that whilst the government’s review focused on traditional retailing operations, the increased propensity of people shopping from home using the internet meant creeping acquisitions of independent internet-based vendors was also an issue worth considering. “More and more people are shopping online, it is therefore important that the government also examines the effect creeping acquisitions may have on e-commerce,” she recommended. “It is equally important that online shoppers are protected by similar competition laws as people who shop at traditional outlets.”

“Governments, retailers and manufacturers need to work together to ensure that a robust competitive framework is put in place that allows consumers to shop with confidence,” Ms Carnell concluded.