FPJ1704 - Scholz, E (2020), ‘A fair go’ for Australia’s farm businesses means fostering competitive practices

FPJ1704 - Scholz, E (2020), ‘A fair go’ for Australia’s farm businesses means fostering competitive practices

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In promising ‘a fairer go’ for Australian farmers as a headline priority, the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper represents a statement of intent by government that family farming businesses should continue to form the backbone of Australia’s agricultural production. The headline also contains an implication that the first two decades of National Competition Policy (NCP) have fallen short of delivering on its promise for at least some farming businesses. The White Paper offers two main competition policy initiatives in its push for greater fairness: firstly, resourcing the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to specifically focus on agriculture and secondly, funding to encourage greater uptake of cooperatives and collective bargaining as tools for farmers to counter the market power of consolidated businesses elsewhere in the supply chain. The very intangibility and subjectivity of the notion of ‘the fair go’ render its use appealing as a political statement but hazardous as a policy benchmark.

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