The Victorian Greens have said pressure is mounting on the Victorian Labor Government to take on the supermarket duopoly, after Choice crowned Woolworths and Coles with a Shonky award for ‘cashing in during the cost-of-living crisis’.
The award was given to Woolworths (which recently recorded a $1.62 billion profit in August) and Coles (which recorded a $1.1 billion profit) for hiking the price of groceries while many are struggling to put food on the table.
In response, the Greens today have introduced a motion to establish a parliamentary inquiry into food affordability and reiterated their calls for the Victorian Labor Government to regulate prices on essential grocery items.
Last month, the Greens released a four-point-plan to stop unfair price hikes, which included:
- Declaring groceries a regulated industry. To give the Essential Services Commission the power to prevent supermarket profiteering through price controls on essential items.
- Re-establishing an Office for Prices. So the government is on your side and works with the community, not for profiteering corporations, to deter excessive price rises, with power to monitor, investigate and expose excessive price rises across the economy.
- Appointing a Minister for Fair Prices. To lead efforts across government to stop unfair price hikes, to take on profiteering corporations like the supermarket duopoly and to ensure the government can be held to account.
- Inquiry into food affordability. To look at ways to lower the cost of food and make sure that everyone has access to healthy, affordable food in Victoria.
Victorian Greens economic justice spokesperson, Sam Hibbins MP, said 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.
Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens economic justice spokesperson, Sam Hibbins MP:
“When the supermarket duopoly are topping the consumer advocate’s list of worst services for the year, you know something is wrong.
“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.
“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.”