Australian regulators moved a step closer to introducing mandatory unit pricing legislation, when draft proposals for implementation of the scheme were unveiled today (23 March).

Australia’s consumer affairs minister, Chris Bowen, released a draft industry code that would implement nationally consistent unit pricing requirements.

“This code – once enacted – will create a nationally consistent unit pricing scheme, so that all Australian consumers can have access to prominent, legible and unambiguous unit pricing information when they do their weekly grocery shop,” Bowen said.

“All through the process of developing this code, the government has consulted with consumers and industry. I look forward to receiving stakeholders’ views on the draft code and to working with them to finalise the code,” he added.

Mandatory unit pricing was a key recommendation made by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) after its inquiry into competition in the grocery retail sector.

“The ACCC found that significant benefits would flow from the introduction of mandatory unit pricing, and today we are a step closer to securing those benefits for consumers,” Bowen said.

Public comments will be sought until 20 April. The Australian government has committed to establishing the regulations by 1 July, with supermarkets expected to make necessary changes to their pricing systems by the beginning of December this year.