Affordable living solved with supermarket duopoly dismantling laws

Nov 29, 2022

Affordable living solved with supermarket duopoly dismantling laws

Nov 29, 2022

KENNEDY MP Bob Katter has called on the Federal Government to introduce a suite of laws to provide food security in Australia for both farmers and customers as living costs cripple family budgets.  

Mr Katter delivered a notice of motion on Monday with six key recommendations for agriculture legislation that would ensure fair prices are being paid to farmers, without hurting consumer wallets and help provide sovereign production security while Australia was a net importer of fruit and vegetables.  

Mr Katter’s six legislation recommendations are:  

  1. Food and manufacturing labelling that highlights hidden imports and prevents fraud.

  2. Fresh produce labelling system that indicates the farm-gate price and the supermarket mark up.
  3. Divestiture legislation that reduces the market power of the corporations that operate the major supermarkets with the objective of levelling the playing field providing a competitive marketplace for consumers and suppliers.
  4. National Office of Better Agricultural Regulation with powers to reduce red tape and consider the actual cost of implementing both marketplace regulations.
  5. Investment in infrastructure and critical supplies/ support industries to reduce production and transportation costs (i.e. gas prices for fertiliser, chemicals, fuel, worker access).
  6. Reforming the  Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme to ensure farmers have direct access to the program.  


Mr Katter said these laws would not only provide fair prices for both growers and consumers, but also address affordable living which “everyone in Parliament is going on about” but barely acting on.  

“My wife was away and I went down to the supermarket, I didn’t have to buy any meat, there was plenty of that in the fridge and I still spent $363. I nearly died of shock,” Mr Katter said.  

“In 1990 the average household in Australia spent $92 a week on food, they are now having to spend $279 a week on food; that is a 2020 figure and there has been a huge escalation in food prices in the last two years.” 

Mr Katter said in that period food had gone up 230 per cent but average weekly earnings had only increased 150 per cent, while pensioners’ allowances had only risen 110 per cent.  

He said while 20 years ago the average markup from farm gate to supermarket shelves was 106 per cent, it was now 242 per cent.  

“There have been 15 inquiries into Woolworths and Coles and not a single thing has been done, not a single recommendation has been put into practice.  

“Woolworths and Coles in 1991 had 50.5 per cent of the market. When a searching inquiry was done, in 2001, their percentage of the market according to the ABS was 68 per cent. And there’s no doubt they’re up around 90 per cent now.  

“I find that the CEO at Woolworths is struggling along at $8m a year and the CEO at Coles is struggling along at $7.5m a year.” 

Mr Katter said while Australia once had 16,000 dairy farmers, it now had 6000. And where the country once had 240,000 farmers in total, there were now just 83,000.  

“Whose fault is that?  

“Who is the government throughout those years that introduced free markets. Free markets meant Woolworths and Coles had free fire sales to push us down through the floor, they could pay us (farmers) anything they wanted.”