An inquiry into Price Gouging and Unfair Pricing Practices reinforces that the Federal Labor Government was too slow to act on supermarkets.
Leader of The Nationals David Littleproud said Professor Allan Fels’ recommendations, indicating supermarkets are taking advantage of shoppers, come after The Nationals called for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to be directed to investigate the clear evidence of meat and fresh produce price disparity between the farmgate and the checkout prices since November 2023.
The Nationals also offered the government support to introduce big stick legislation as early as December 2022.
The inquiry recommends Labor uses its powers to require the ACCC to conduct more price and market investigations, require the ACCC to undertake market studies and that the ACCC should have the power of its own to initiate price and market studies. Mr Littleproud said it was obvious for some time that an ACCC inquiry has been needed.
“The latest report into supermarket price gouging confirms what we already know government policy, or Labor, is not paying sufficient attention to high prices and it needs to,” Mr Littleproud said.
“Labor could have started the ACCC investigation before Christmas but didn’t understand the scale nor severity of their cost-of-living crisis.
“While Labor spent last year distracted on a $450 million failed Voice Referendum, price disparity between the farmgate and the supermarket checkout was allowed to escalate out of control.
“The Nationals wanted this investigation urgently before Christmas but Labor was simply too slow to take action and in fact said that the Grocery Code of Conduct Review was their solution, which took 100 days to appoint someone since its announcement. It’s unfortunate it took Labor so long to realise that these powers exist, after previously promising Australians that two other inquiries they announced would yield results.”