SUPERMARKET operators will be able to coordinate immediately to ensure consumers can get groceries during the coronavirus pandemic after the ACCC’s granting of interim authorisation.

The interim authorisation is expected to allow supermarkets to coordinate with each other when working with transport and logistics providers as well as manufacturers and suppliers.

The authorisation does not allow supermarkets to agree on retail prices.

“Australia’s supermarkets have experienced unprecedented demand for groceries in recent weeks, both in store and online, which has led to shortages of some products and disruption to delivery services,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

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“This is essentially due to unnecessary panic buying, and the logistics challenge this presents, rather than an underlying supply problem.”

The ACCC granted interim authorisation on Monday afternoon after receiving the application last Friday.

“We have worked very swiftly to consider this interim authorisation application, because of the urgency of the situation, and its impact on Australian consumers,” Mr Sims said.

The Department of Home Affairs has convened a Supermarket Taskforce to resolve issues impacting supermarkets.

The authorisation applies to Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and Metcash. It will also apply to any other grocery retailer wishing to participate.

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