Cost of Living – Adjournment

6 Feb 2024

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Parliament

My adjournment matter is for the Assistant Treasurer as the minister responsible for the Essential Services Commission, and the action I seek is for the minister to regulate supermarkets to stop them from price gouging.

Supermarkets have been putting up the price of food and essentials, making the cost of living worse. Victorians are struggling to feed their families. They are going without or dipping into their savings or running up debt just to afford the basics – the daily necessities like food.

At the same time Coles and Woolworths – the supermarkets – well, they are posting massive profits and increasing their profit margins. The minister has the power to act. The minister has the power under the Essential Services Commission Act 2001 to declare supermarkets a regulated industry. The minister has the power to stop them from price gouging, but up until this point, right now, the minister and the government are refusing to act. All we have heard from the state government so far is that it is not up to them or it is a federal issue.

This is simply not true. There is a real and urgent need for the state government to take on the supermarket duopoly, to step in and regulate the supermarket industry to stop them from price gouging and to make food affordable for everyone. The state government has the power to do this. Do they really think it is acceptable for the supermarket giants to be posting record profits while everyday Victorians are struggling to afford food? I urge the Victorian Labor government to take the necessary action to put an end to price gouging and to take on the supermarket duopoly and support everyday Victorians who cannot afford essentials like food and groceries.

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