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Thursday, 14 February 2008
Page: 437

Ms HALL (9:59 AM) —Madam Deputy Speaker, along with everyone else, I would like to add my words of congratulation upon your election as the Deputy Speaker. I feel absolutely certain that you will add something special to the role and that you will be noted for being an outstanding Deputy Speaker.

One of the issues that have been paramount in Shortland electorate is the cost of living and the rising price of groceries. As I have told the House on many occasions, Shortland is the electorate with the 10th oldest population in Australia. We have a very, very large population of pensioners. Many of those pensioners live from week to week and find it very difficult to survive. One of the issues that they constantly raise with me is the price of groceries and how they are finding that the cost of living is making it more difficult for them to live. On many occasions, pensioners have brought me in shopping slips that show what they were paying last month and what they are paying this month, what they were paying last year and what they are paying this year. This graphically demonstrates to me that there has been an increase in the price of groceries.

The previous government chose to ignore the voice of the pensioners in the Shortland electorate, the voice of families in the Shortland electorate and, for that matter, the voice of families and pensioners throughout Australia. They just allowed the price of groceries to increase and said, ‘Well, we can’t do anything about it.’ The Rudd Labor government went to the last election promising the Australian people that it would actually try and do something about it, and that is why one of the first acts of this government has been to establish an inquiry into grocery prices.

The Rudd government has instructed the ACCC to take a broad approach to this inquiry and ensure that all aspects of the chain are included, from the farm gate to the checkout. I think this is very important. The inquiry will be taking submissions from people. I believe that it is of such vital importance that I have circulated the details of the inquiry throughout my electorate. I have asked those pensioner groups and those people who have been struggling under the previous government to put a submission in to the inquiry. When the inquiry reports back on 31 July, the Australian people will have had a chance to have their voice heard, and we will know once and for all— (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms AE Burke)—Order! In accordance with standing order 193, the time for members’ statements has concluded.