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David Littleproud pushes ACCC empowerment to tackle supermarket price gouging after dismissal attitude from Albanese Labor government

The Nationals' David Littleproud criticises PM's dismissal of divestiture powers amid supermarket price gouging concerns. Labor's shift disappoints; calls for ACCC empowerment intensify to address inflation's grocery impact.

By news@gippsland - 23rd February 2024 - Back to News

Leader of The Nationals David Littleproud has hit back at the Prime Minister's claims that "we are not a Soviet country" amid calls for divestiture powers to bring supermarkets into line. Mr Littleproud said the Prime Minister was oblivious to the fact that the US and UK were just two democratic countries among many that already have divestiture powers and it was galling to many Australians that, despite talking tough, he was now siding with the supermarkets after evidence of price gouging emerged.

Nationals to push for ACCC empowerment against rising grocery prices due to government's lack of transparency neglecting real issues despite promises of consideration

Nationals to push for ACCC empowerment against rising grocery prices due to government's lack of transparency neglecting real issues despite promises of consideration

Promise forsaken, gap

The Labor government said when announcing a review into supermarkets that all options to keep the supermarkets accountable would be considered, with the Prime Minister stating just one month ago "if the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) asks for more powers, my government's up for giving it to them" and that the head of the ACCC "would be prepared to exercise those powers".

However, the Prime Minister has now ruled out divestiture powers, before their own report is handed down. Mr Littleproud said the government was obviously never serious about cracking down on supermarket price gouging and was out of touch with Australians doing it though.

Expert advice dismissed

Former ACCC Chair Allan Fels also this month called for divestiture powers in a report for the ACTU and Mr Littleproud said it was disappointing the government wouldn't even listen to someone like Professor Fels, who was eminently qualified to give sound advice on competition policy in Australia.

"The Nationals offered the government support to introduce big stick legislation, which would provide divestiture powers, as early as December 2022. The Nationals also called for the ACCC to be directed to investigate the clear evidence of meat and fresh produce price disparity between the farmgate and the checkout prices since November 2023."

"It is extremely disappointing that, rather than putting all options on the table amid a cost-of-living crisis, the Prime Minister would instead poke fun at genuine, practical solutions that would actually help stamp out price gouging," Mr Littleproud said.

Disconnection and negligence

Mr Littleproud added, "The Prime Minister is clearly out of touch and dismissive with what is a very real problem. Despite the Labor government previously stating they would consider all options and outcomes, Labor has now turned its back on the Emerson Review."

"The government has been asleep at the wheel and refusing to offer transparency. The key issue to inflation right now is grocery prices, which is why The Nationals intend to go back to Parliament next week and garner more support to give the ACCC the powers and penalties it needs, to ensure we can keep the supermarkets in tow," he said.

Pictures from David Littleproud MP Facebook page.


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