1 February, 2024

Inquiry aim at fair go for our farmers

Local supermarkets in the Ipswich, Somerset Region and Karana Downs area will face increased scrutiny, following the initiation of an investigation into grocery prices by the Albanese Labor Government.

Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann, talks to constituents.
Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann, talks to constituents.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will conduct a 12-month inquiry, marking the first of its kind since 2008, with a focus on assessing the competitiveness of retail prices and addressing allegations of price gouging within the supermarket sector.

The inquiry is a component of the government’s broader strategy to promote competition and reduce essential costs for Australians.

It involves a thorough examination of the supermarket industry, evaluating its structure at various levels, tracking changes in competition since 2008, and analysing the impact of the growing prevalence of online shopping.

The inquiry will also delve into the dynamics of small and independent retailers, pricing practices, factors influencing prices along the supply chain, and potential impediments to competitive pricing.

Additionally, loyalty programs and third-party discounts will be subject to scrutiny for their influence on market competition.

The ACCC is set to deliver an interim report in 2024 and a comprehensive final report in early 2025.

These reports will offer meticulous findings and pragmatic recommendations to the government.

Concurrently, the government is allocating $1.1 million to consumer group, Choice, to facilitate quarterly price transparency and comparison reports over the next three years, beginning in the second quarter of 2024.

This initiative aims to empower consumers with precise information about the comparative costs of grocery items at different retailers, fostering a more informed shopping experience.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers emphasised the government’s commitment to ensuring fair pricing, stating, “When our hardworking farmers receive less for their produce, it is only just that supermarkets pass on the benefits to Australian consumers.”

Dr Chalmers emphasised the ACCC’s powers in investigating price differentials between farmgate and checkout prices, underscoring the government’s readiness to intervene if necessary.

Federal Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann, acknowledged the challenges faced by local shoppers grappling with cost-of-living pressures.

He highlighted the inquiry’s objective of enhancing supermarket competitiveness.

“We are striving for fair pricing not just for families but also for our resilient farmers,” he said.

This comprehensive inquiry aligns with the recent announcement of tax cuts, reflecting the government’s commitment to providing additional cost-of-living relief for low and middle-income Australians.

Taxpayers in the Blair electorate, numbering around 80,000, can anticipate an average tax break of $1,380 from July 1, as announced by the Prime Minister and Treasurer.


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