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Tribunal ruling on newsagents unacceptable.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

SENATOR RON BOSWELL

NATIONAL PARTY LEADER IN THE SENATE

SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND

 

 

TRIBUNAL RULING ON NEWSAGENTS UNACCEPTABLE

 

‘The Australian Competition Tribunal ruling to deregulate newsagents' distribution systems within six months is to tally unacceptable,’ said National Party Senate Leader, Ron Boswell, today.

 

‘If carried out, it will destroy the system of local family newsagents. Substantial investments will be lost and the large corporate retailers will move into the market, forcing the smaller stores to close.'

 

‘Suburban newsagencies have been bought using the lifesavings, superannuation and home mortgages of hardworking Australian people. This Competition Tribunal ruling has just wiped those investments and sent the newsagency market into free fall.’

 

Senator Boswell said that it was time to draw a line in the sand against actions taken by non-elected bodies like the National Competition Council to deregulate simply for the sake of it.

 

‘The principles of competition policy have oven inadequate because they are too heavily weighed in favour of big operators and big cities. Competition legislation has also put too much power in the hands of the Competition Tribunal and Council.’

 

‘We have to restore sovereignty over these issues to the Parliament and government who are ultimately responsible to the people for the competition policy processes. This is a perfect opportunity for Parliament to acquit its responsibilities and call the shots.'

 

‘I’ll be calling for legislation to avert this catastrophe for family newsagents and small towns.’

 

‘The Nationals are trying desperately to keep services and commerce in small rural towns while this Tribunal is trying to kick them out.’

 

‘What will be next - the pharmacy? The bottleshops? Those towns can’t survive any more losses. The Tribunal is sending a terrible signal to rural Australia - that they just don’t count.’

 

‘Already the big retailers have captured 86% of the grocery market. We cannot let that  happen to these other micro sectors. The big retailers will erode the profit margins of their smaller competitors and attract shoppers to larger regional centres.’

 

‘In the process they destroy smaller communities. Ultimately the consumer is worse off because the markets are totally controlled by just a few large players. That is not what I call competition, but apparently the Competition Tribunal thinks that it is healthy for Australia to be run by Coles/Myer and Woolworths.’

 

Senator Boswell said that he had spent many years helping the newsagency industry retain their distribution system. ‘John Howard gave a “rock solid” commitment to newsagencies in 1996 and I am confident he will view the Tribunal’s ruling with consternation.’

 

 

Enquiries - Canberra Tel. 06 6277 3244   Brisbane Tel. 07 3291 1838

 

ENDS

18/11/98

 

 

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