/ 11 January 2024

Albanese calls for a price check


The Squiz  

The Albanese Government has set its sights on supermarket prices as the new year kicks into gear, with former Labor Consumer Affairs Minister/economist Craig Emerson to lead a review into the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct. The probe was announced at the start of October, but PM Anthony Albanese revealed Emerson’s appointment publicly yesterday – something he copped some flack from the Coalition over… The look into the voluntary/industry-led regulatory scheme will check that it’s working “to make sure Australian customers get the best possible deal” at the checkout. “Because we know that when we have seen a reduction in the cost to supermarkets, that hasn’t been passed on in an appropriate way to consumers. And we want to make sure that happens,” Albanese said yesterday. 

‘Cos you hear quite a bit about what the supermarkets pay farmers… 

Yeah – and you’re probably hearing the same things we are about zucchinis… Another example comes from a fruit producer who says he gets $1.80/kg for his produce, but it retails for $5. “Where is that gap going? Who is making the difference? The supermarkets,” he says. His view is shared by Queensland Premier Steven Miles, who wrote to the bosses of Coles, Woolworths, IGA and Aldi last week about his “growing concern” over the disparity between prices at the farm gate and the checkout. But the retailers say they pay market prices for produce, and the retail price includes “processing, transport, labour, packaging and other costs”. These issues will be addressed in Emerson’s review and a Senate Inquiry that will kick into gear in the coming weeks. 

So cost of living concerns are alive and well in 2024?

They sure are – but there was some good news yesterday… Yesterday, the Bureau of Stats said inflation dropped to 4.3% in the 12 months leading up to November. It’s the lowest inflation in nearly 2 years, and it’s fallen by more than economists predicted. Cue speculation that the Reserve Bank might drop interest rates sooner than the analysts thought, even though Treasurer Jim Chalmers yesterday said the fight to beat high inflation is “far from over”. Still, it’s better than what Argentinians are facing – an inflation rate of 160%, leaving locals to ask their cowboy saint Gauchito Gil for help… 

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