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Let's keep the playing field level




COSBOA today applauds the ACCC for looking out for small business in their response to the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. On Wednesday 8 April, ACCC Chair Rod Sims gave a speech to a group of 70 CEOs and senior executives and concluded with this statement:


As the ACCC monitors these authorisations it will watch for ways in which smaller players can be disadvantaged. For example, the ACCC has urged state governments that while supermarkets will always remain open during this pandemic, so must smaller local food retailers, like butchers and green grocers. It would be extremely unfortunate if this pandemic were to see a consolidation in the grocery sector as supplies narrow to supermarkets in ways that will be hard to reverse.”


COSBOA CEO Peter Strong said: This statement is spot on and I’m sure many smaller retailers will be relieved to read it. A few weeks ago we were hearing concerning reports from some of our members that Coles and Woolworths were hoarding large amounts of food and other essentials in what amounted to a sort of corporate panic buying. Suppliers were telling small retailers that they wouldn’t be able to stock up on these items until larger customers’ needs were met. We believe this is no longer occurring but will continue to monitor the situation.”


“It’s vitally important not only to our economy but also to our community health that local food retailers remain open and have access to supplies. The large supermarkets are sometimes further for people to travel to and if everyone was forced to congregate at large centres to buy their essentials it would be much harder to maintain social distancing.”


Mr Strong concluded “Well done to the ACCC. COSBOA wrote to Mr Sims about this issue and we were listened to. This shows we have good, world class regulators in Australia that we can trust.”

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