Competition and fair trading in the agriculture sector is a priority for the ACCC. We've compiled information and resources on competition and business issues that are relevant to the sector.
The Agriculture Unit was established to examine competition and unfair trading issues in agricultural supply chains with a view to improving enforcement and compliance with the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (the Act) across the agriculture sector.
We have three main objectives regarding agriculture:
- Identify key agricultural supply chain issues across the agricultural sector for enforcement focus, investigation and prosecution.
- Increase awareness about codes of conduct, collective bargaining and the ACCC’s consultation processes.
- Conduct specific market studies to enhance our understanding of the competitiveness of agricultural supply chains and how this impacts on farm gate outcomes in general.
A summary of the work undertaken by the Unit in its first year is available in ACCC Agriculture Unit - A year in review.
See also: Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper
You can make a report using our reporting form.
You can make a report anonymously, however this may limit our abilty to follow up matters with you.
Our ACCC Commissioner with specific expertise in agriculture, Mick Keogh, works with the Agriculture Unit and assists the ACCC’s activities to encourage fair trading and strengthen competition across agricultural supply chains.
Cattle and beef market study
In 2016–17 the ACCC’s Agriculture Unit conducted a market study of the cattle and beef sector. The market study examined competition, transparency and efficiency in cattle and beef supply chains.
Inquiry into the dairy industry
The final report following the Dairy Inquiry was released on 30 April 2018.
See: Dairy Inquiry
Wine grapes market study
In 2018–19 the ACCC’s Agriculture Unit conducted a market study of the wine grape industry. The study examined competition, contracting practices, transparency and risk allocation issues in wine grape supply chains.
Inquiry into perishable agricultural goods
In 2020, the ACCC conducted an inquiry into bargaining power imbalances in perishable agricultural goods industries. The inquiry examined trading practices throughout supply chains, including the relationships between farmers, processors, and retailers, and the extent to which any potential bargaining power imbalances in these relationships adversely impacted the efficient operation of these markets.
In February 2020 the ACCC released a discussion paper which identified a number of initial concerns about issues which may be harmful to competition and to purchasers of agricultural machinery. The ACCC is currently reviewing and analysing the information put forward by stakeholders through submissions to the discussion paper and responses to our purchasers survey. This will help inform next steps. We expect to publish a document in early 2021 summarising the key themes raised in submissions and survey responses. This will also outline the next steps the ACCC plans to take with respect to agricultural machinery.
In April 2017, the Australian Government launched the revised nation-wide Horticulture Code of Conduct, which sets out mandatory requirements for traders and agents operating in Australian fresh fruit and vegetable markets.
In 2016, the ACCC held a series of regional workshops to speak with people in the horticulture and viticulture industries about the competition and fair-trading issues that affect them and to gain a better understanding of the issues present in supply chains. An account of the competition and fair trading issues raised during the workshops and the ACCC’s response to these issues is available in Perspectives in horticulture and viticulture.
The ACCC’s self-initiated review into the chicken meat industry has been discontinued, following the August 2020 announcement of a new three-month inquiry into perishable agricultural goods.
In July 2020, the ACCC commenced a self-initiated review of the chicken meat industry in Australia. The review was to focus on the commercial relationships between growers and processors, and was to run until December 2020. Given that chicken meat is a perishable agricultural product, the chicken meat supply chain will instead be considered as part of the perishable agricultural goods inquiry.
We send out newsletters to update subscribers of upcoming events, workshops, market studies, and other relevant opportunities to engage with the ACCC.
Several areas of the ACCC’s work have direct impact on agricultural businesses.
The ACCC established an Agriculture Consultative Committee in 2016. The Committee helps inform the Agriculture Unit and the broader ACCC on issues affecting the agriculture sector that fall within the scope of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
We hold a range of forums in regional areas with targeted industry sectors to:
- discuss concerns and share information about supply chain competition and unfair trading issues
- learn about rights and responsibilities under the Act and how to engage effectively with the ACCC.