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Albanese now realises ACCC Inquiry the way to investigate supermarkets

Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Labor are now flagging they will direct the Australian
Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to conduct a supermarket price inquiry to
stamp out price gouging.
Leader of The Nationals David Littleproud said The Nationals had been calling for the
independent ACCC watchdog, armed with tough powers, to be directed to investigate the
supermarkets since November 2023, to deal with the spiralling cost-of-living crisis that was
being felt by Australians at the supermarket checkouts.
“Under section 95, the Treasurer has the legislated power to direct the ACCC and give it
strong powers to compel witnesses and recommend harsher penalties,” Mr Littleproud said.
“The Nationals wanted this investigation urgently before Christmas but Labor is simply too
slow to take action. They are only now realising these powers exist, but promised
Australians the two inquiries they announced would yield results.
“We need an inquiry into disparities between farmgate and retail food pricing. A Senate
inquiry this year won’t go far enough, while a review into the Food and Grocery Code
wasted almost 100 days to even start its investigation.
“The ACCC has the powers to properly investigate as part of a dedicated inquiry to ensure
fairness for farmers and consumers and it’s baffling it has taken the government so long to
realise.

Mr Littleproud said he had already written to the ACCC, urging it to undertake an inquiry.
“The Nationals and Australia cannot continue to wait for Labor’s delays. As a result, I have
also taken the step of writing directly to the ACCC on behalf of The Nationals to request
them to undertake a public inquiry into these matters.
“I am pleased Treasurer Chalmers is now open to an ACCC inquiry into pricing practices and
is expected to announce it shortly. It took The Nationals’ calling out of Labor’s gross failure
to act, highlighting it had been almost 100 days, for Labor being shamed into action and
finally appointing a Reviewer into the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct Review, which
won’t go far enough.”
Mr Littleproud pointed out the supermarkets’ claims of lowering prices by 20 per cent this
week had been nothing more than a PR stunt and proved an ACCC inquiry was needed.
Mr Littleproud said most beef and lamb prices were still exactly the same as early November and the giant supermarkets were once again treating the public like mugs.
Mr Littleproud issued a press release on November 11, 2023, saying beef and lamb prices
were far too high at supermarkets, with shoppers at the time paying $36 per kilo for grass-
fed beef rump steak, $25 per kilo for beef rump roast and $19 for a kilo of humble grass-fed
beef mince.
Families on November 11 were also paying $27 for a kilo of grass-fed graze lamb boneless
shoulder roast, $18 for one kilo of lamb loin chops and $8 per kilo of lamb leg roast.
He said Coles claiming it had dropped beef and lamb prices by 20 per cent on January 10
was misleading, false and wrong.
Shoppers are still paying $36 per kilo for grass-fed steak and $25 per kilo for beef rump
roast.
Grass-fed mince has actually increased by $1 per kilo, to $20 per kilo.
A kilo of lamb leg roast has also increased from $8 a kilo to $10 a kilo, while grass-fed graze
lamb boneless shoulder roast has decreased to $22 per kilo and lamb loin chops are down
to $16 a kilo.
“Since The Nationals’ price investigation in early November, two meat items have increased
in price, just two items have decreased in price, and the other items are the same,” Mr
Littleproud said.
“This is a stitch-up and quite frankly, Australians deserve better than more lies from the big
supermarkets.
“The Labor Government is now trying to claim credit for lower prices at Coles and
Woolworths.
“If they actually cared about prices and the cost-of-living crisis, Labor would have realised
that the 20 per cent price drop claim is nothing but more lies, which only the ACCC can get
to the bottom of.”

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