THE NEWS WRAP: New food industry dispute resolution body planned

Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths, along with the Australian Food and Grocery Council, have proposed a new dispute resolution body and voluntary code governing the relationships between grocery retailers and their suppliers.


The new body, which will potentially also include IGA wholesaler Metcash, will aim to resolve disputes before they escalate to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, following a series of disputes over supermarket private label brands.


“The intent is to create a forum that can meet at least a couple of times a year and air industry-wide issues and where possible reach common positions and resolve contentious issues,” AFGC chief Gary Dawson told The Australian.


“It’s consistent with a preference for self-regulatory solutions over legislated intervention, and that’s the preference of both the retailers and the suppliers.”


Gillard government proposes new powers to veto major gas projects


The Gillard government has proposed new legislation that would give the federal government the power to veto major coal-seam gas and shale gas projects.


However, the move has been rejected by both the Business Council of Australia and the Minerals Council, while the Queensland government is describing the proposal as being the “ultimate betrayal” of the federal government’s promise to cut green tape by eliminating the overlap between state and federal regulators.


“It would be the ultimate betrayal of the states and it would be a betrayal of the business community. We’re seeing what appears to be a purely political move to increase duplication and legislation,” Queensland Environment Minister Andrew Powell said.


“Let’s not lose sight of the fact that when analysed independently, Australia’s processes are second to none and the Business Council would do well to be honest about that,” Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said.


China Southern Airlines considered an investment in Qantas


China Southern Airlines reportedly examined buying a 10-15% stake in Qantas earlier this year, but its interest waned after the Australian carrier signed a code-sharing deal with China Eastern.


Foreign investment in the Australian flag carrier is capped at 35%, with any investment also subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval as aviation is designated a “prescribed sensitive sector”, along with a review of its impact on competition by the ACCC.


“Asia is clearly an important market to Qantas and we are in regular discussion with current and potential partners in the region,” a Qantas spokesperson said.




The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.70% to 15,070.18. The Aussie dollar is down to US95.58 cents.


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