The Victorian Greens are urging the Victorian Labor Government to introduce price controls on everyday supermarket items to prevent giants like Coles and Woolworths from price gouging and continuing to take struggling Victorians for a ride.
The Greens say price gouging is one of the key contributors to the skyrocketing cost-of-living and that the Government has a responsibility to step in and support Victorians doing it tough.
A recent survey conducted by the Victorian Greens has revealed the devastating impact of the cost-of-living crisis on Victorians, with around 70 per cent of respondents reporting their mental health had been negatively impacted by cost-of-living pressures.
Over 60 per cent of people also reported they had to put off accessing medical care because they could not afford it.
The survey of over 1,200 people found that:
- Bills (49.3%), food (46.7%), and rent (41.7%) were the biggest costs respondents were struggling with.
- Healthcare costs were also a significant issue, with 21% of respondents struggling to afford to see a mental health professional. This figure rose to 30% for people aged 18 - 34.
Respondents said they wanted profiteering corporations to pay their fair share of tax and direct intervention from the government to stop the skyrocketing increases in rents, bills, and food.
Victorian Greens economic justice spokesperson, Sam Hibbins MP, said the survey showed the cost-of-living crisis was having a profound impact on people, and that there was a clear case for much stronger government action to lower costs of food.
He said the government could start by taking on the supermarket duopoly in order to prevent them from profiteering by unfairly increasing food prices and the Greens would look to establish a parliamentary inquiry into food affordability.
Around the world governments are taking a range of such actions to force supermarkets to lower prices including putting price caps on essentials, limiting retailer’s profits or even simply using the threat of price controls to force supermarkets to bring down prices.
Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens economic justice spokesperson, Sam Hibbins MP:
“Everyday people are experiencing worsening mental health, reduced quality of life and significant hardship because they simply can’t afford bills, food, or the rent.
“The profiteering supermarket duopoly of Coles and Woolworths are making the cost-of-living crisis worse, by increasing the price of food and their profit margins at the same time.
“People are crying out for direct government intervention. The strategic use of price controls is both an effective and credible tool for governments to use to stop price gouging.
“A number of European governments are taking direct action to lower the cost of food whilst New Zealand is taking on its own supermarket duopoly.
“Yet the Victorian Labor Government is choosing not to act, despite having the powers to do so, and instead are prioritising corporate profiteering over people who are struggling to afford food, bills, and the rent.”