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Anthony Albanese under fire for rejecting pressure to review supermarket behavior a year ago

Anthony Albanese’s government has been called out after it was revealed it had rejected a request for a fast-track review of the supermarket giants’ behaviour.

The Prime Minister has left the door open to expanding the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s powers to bring supermarkets into line amid concerns about pricing amid a cost-of-living crisis.

But Nationals leader David Littleproud said the measures could have been taken a year ago if the government had accepted his support to bring forward a review of the food and grocery code of practice by 12 months.

«The prime minister said (on Tuesday) that his government is concerned and prepared to do whatever is necessary,» Mr Littleproud said on Wednesday.

“Well, they had an opportunity and turned their backs on it. We are now saying that we will not have any further reviews.’

The Anthony Albanese government has been subpoenaed after it was revealed it had rejected a request for a fast-track review of the supermarket giants’ behaviour.

Former trade and competition minister Craig Emerson was appointed last week to review the code – a voluntary system that governs how supermarkets interact with suppliers.

Mr Albanese indicated he was willing to make the code mandatory if retailers failed to pass on lower prices.

However, Mr Littleproud said Australians who are doing it hard can’t wait for the assessment of Dr. Emerson completed.

He said he wrote to Mr Leigh in December 2022 expressing his party’s support for the review to be brought forward by a year, but not go ahead.

«Let’s actually make the code mandatory,» Mr Littleproud said.

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“Let’s put in transfer powers. Let’s have legislation that we can all step in, walk out and give the ACCC an opportunity to investigate.

«They need to really look at this price reduction that’s happening with fresh meat and fresh produce.»

With a by-election in the Melbourne electorate of Dunkley due next month or in early March, Mr Albanese is trying to convince voters he is acting on the cost of living.

The Prime Minister has left the door open to expanding the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s powers to help supermarkets cope amid price concerns amid a cost-of-living crisis (picture)

On Wednesday morning, Mr Albanese said he was willing to give the consumer watchdog more powers to investigate food prices, but only if chairwoman Gina Cass-Gottlieb asked for them.

“I know they are looking into this very closely because people are really concerned that when you’ve seen the price paid to farmers like our sheep farmers come down, it hasn’t come down as quickly as it should have. in checkout prices,” he said.

«And that’s what’s being investigated.»

Ms Cass-Gottlieb also said she was «carefully» considering whether to take legal action over the alleged misleading pricing.

Mr Albanese said he was doing «whatever is necessary» to reduce prices.

“We want to make sure people are paying the lowest prices possible when they get to the checkout,” he said.

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