Price Caps On 30 Essential Items Could Be Introduced In QLD, Saving Us $1K Per Year & Thank Fk

The cost of 30 essential groceries including bread and milk in Queensland could be capped and tied to inflation thanks to a newly proposed policy in the state’s parliament. If passed, it would aim to relieve the wallets of shoppers, and also “smash the duopoly power” of Coles and Woolworths.

As Australians continue to suffer in the cost of living crisis, Greens MP for South Brisbane Dr Amy MacMahon announced the “straightforward measure” to provide relief to Queensland shoppers.

At its core, the bill aims to do two things:

  1. Put a price cap on 30 essential groceries so that unless wages go up, the prices of chosen items will remain the same.
  2. Give the Queensland government the ability to break up any supermarket corporation with more than 20 per cent of a market share.
Greens MP, Dr Amy MacMahon. Source: Instagram.

MacMahon estimated the policy could save families as much as $1000 on groceries per year, and also add some much-needed diversity to the supermarket industry.

“We have had price caps like this in Australia in the past, there’s other countries that are introducing price caps as well, France actually has caps on thousands of items,” MacMahon told PEDESTRIAN.TV.

“This is a pretty modest proposal for how we could help to bring down the cost of groceries, and make sure that no one needs to worry about filling up their trolley or filling their kids’ lunchboxes.”

What groceries are included in the price cap?

The policy would introduce a “Fair Prices Authority” as an independent regulating body that would determine exactly which groceries are included in the price cap shopping list.

Though this list of groceries has not been finalised, MacMahon believes that some staples would be a given, including:

  • Milk
  • Bread
  • Rice
  • Nappies
  • Detergent
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Cheese
  • And more!

Price caps would not be applicale to fresh products due to the unavoidable factor of seasonal price changes.

(Photo by Chu Chen/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Chu Chen via Getty Images)

Additionally, a consultation period would take place where the Fair Prices Authority seeks public input for the items that need to be included — meaning some special foods could potentially be capped.

“If there’s an overwhelming response for a particular dessert, we had thought some option of ice cream should probably be included here,” said MacMahon. “But ultimately, taking additional consultation from the community will determine this list of 30 items.”

A massive win for the little treat girlies.

MacMahon also highlighted that the policy needs to be implemented so that the supermarkets don’t abuse their position in the market.

“The supermarket profits are a big part of the problem here. Coles and Woolies have this overwhelming control over the groceries market, they have that 65 per cent of the market,” she said.

“Because of that, Coles and Woolies are basically able to set prices that suit them very well, even if that comes at the expense of consumers.”

coles-woolies
Source: Getty.

Along with protecting the Queenslander shoppers, the Fair Prices Authority would also set up structures and regulations that protect suppliers and farmers from footing the bill, which could include breaking up the corporations to introduce market diversity.

“If there was more diversity, there would be more competition and suppliers would have a bit more power to be able to leverage what sort of deals they’re getting for their products,” she explained, adding that it would “help bring down prices”.

Previous bills to break up Coles and Woolworths have been introduced in the Federal Senate and earned the backing of both the Greens and the National Party. However these bills failed to pass.

Both the Senate and ACCC launched investigations earlier this year into whether Coles and Woolworths were unfairly using their power in the market to increase prices. The senate inquiry called for a competition policy to be introduced as a result of its findings.

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