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Labor's grocery pricing inquiry gets enthusiastic welcome.



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Media Release Senator Kerry O’Brien shadow minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Forestry

LABOR’S GROCERY PRICING INQUIRY GETS ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME

Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Forestry Kerry O'Brien said farmers across the country have welcomed today's commitment by Kevin Rudd to conduct a National Grocery Pricing Inquiry.

“For a long time there have been concerns that farmers are getting squeezed by the big food retailers.

“Pricing data appear to support these concerns.

“For example, retail food prices had risen on average by 17.8% over the last four years while average prices received by farmers rose by just 2.3%.

“In fact, food prices rose much faster than inflation - 17.8% for food compared to 12.1% for everything else.

“These figures demonstrate the need for more transparency in the setting of food retail prices.

Senator O’Brien said Labor’s announcement had received widespread support from farming groups.

New South Wales Farmers' Association President, Mr Jock Laurie, told the ABC it is important that consumers know why prices change:

There's only two major supermarkets now, they've got a very big part of the business in Australia. In those circumstances… it's very important that everybody understands exactly where the money is going.

Growcom Chief Advocate, Mr Mark Panitz, said growers complain that farmgate prices are not reflected in supermarket prices, which can be more than five times as high:

There needs to be a mechanism whereby authorities can discern where there have been excessive mark-ups of fresh produce.

Labor’s plan has also received the backing of AUSVEG Chairman, Mr Mike Badcock.

Senator O’Brien said farm groups have called on the Howard Government to match Labor’s commitment.

“It’s a pity that the Howard Government has been deaf to the calls of the farming community on this issue for so long,” Senator O’Brien said.

11 J l 2007