Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has raised concerns over the surging profits of major supermarket chains at a time when consumers are grappling with spiralling grocery costs.
Calling the situation “out of sync,” PM Albanese emphasised the responsibility of these chains to ensure fair pricing for consumers. This statement comes as a review into the supermarkets’ code of conduct gains momentum.
Former Labor minister Craig Emerson has been appointed by the federal government to lead this crucial review. The focus will be on examining the disparity between the prices paid to farmers for produce and the amounts charged to customers at the checkout.
“At a time when people are doing it tough, the big supermarket chains have been making record profits,”Mr Albanese noted, highlighting the need for a balance between corporate profitability and consumer fairness.
During the 2022/23 financial year, Coles reported profits exceeding $1 billion, while Woolworths registered a staggering $1.6 billion.
In light of these figures, PM Albanese urged major chains to pass on cost reductions on grocery items to their customers. The current voluntary and industry-led code of conduct might be mandated to ensure compliance, as suggested by PM.
Allan Fels, former chair of the consumer watchdog, echoed these concerns, advocating for a code of conduct to ensure farmers receive fair prices from supermarkets. He pointed out instances where supermarkets were quick to increase prices but slow to reduce them, citing the example of lamb prices.
This review will run concurrently with a Senate inquiry into supermarket prices, set to hold hearings in February and release a final report in May.
Shadow treasurer Angus Taylor stressed the need for greater competitiveness in the supermarket sector to ensure lower prices for consumers.
“At a time like this, when real disposable incomes are being hit hard, we need to support any sensible policy that leads to lower prices for essential items,”he stated on ABC Radio.
The government’s stance puts supermarket giants on notice, signalling a potential shift towards more stringent regulations to protect both consumers and producers in the Australian grocery market. As families across the nation feel the pinch of rising living costs, these developments could mark a significant step towards more equitable pricing in the retail food sector.
Support Our Journalism
Global Indian Diaspora needs fair, non-hyphenated, and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. The Australia Today – with exceptional reporters, columnists, and editors – is doing just that. Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.
Whether you live in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States of America, or India you can take a paid subscription by clicking Patreon. Buy an annual ‘The Australia Today Membership’ to support independent journalism and get special benefits.