The Australian Food and Grocery Code is now law, and with Woolworths and Aldi already signed up, the Small Business Minister wants other players to join.

The voluntary code has been operating since March, and Woolworths and Aldi both made early commitments to the code.

Metcash-IGA said it would trial the code over a 12-month period and Coles said it would consider signing up once the code became law.

Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson said he was encouraged by the early commitments from Aldi and Woolworths, but called on Metcash to make a stronger commitment.

“Frankly, we are looking for Metcash to lift its game and fully embrace the code as it was intended, not to mimic it, but to actually commit to it so that their suppliers had similar confidence and similar protection from the code,” he said.

A Metcash spokesman told the ABC that it was co-operating with the Minister and Treasury on the code, but needed the 12-month trial to fully understand how the code affected its wholesale business model, that operated differently from the supermarkets.

Mr Billson also said he was confident Coles would sign up as well, despite the Code being strengthened beyond what all supermarkets had negotiated.

“I believe it’s a vastly improved code with more effective provisions and greater certainty in these important relationships,” he said.

“Coles have been involved with those discussions and I am optimistic they will formally commit to the code in the very near future.”

In a statement released on Monday, Aldi said it had “always supported the concept of a strong and sustainable Australian grocery industry for retailers and suppliers”.

Extracted in full from the ABC.