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Rudd's desperate plan to salvage GroceryChoice ignores the $13 million waste of taxpayer's money.

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Luke Hartsuyker MP

Shadow Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs Federal Member for Cowper

Media Contact: Greg Pierce 02 66 52 62 33 0408 532 785 Canberra: 62 77 4447

Media Release

November 25, 2008

Rudd’s desperate plan to salvage GroceryChoice ignores the $13 million waste of taxpayer’s money

The GroceryChoice website was still a waste of taxpayer’s money despite plans by the Rudd Government to outsource it to the consumer group Choice, Shadow Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs, Luke Hartsuyker, said today

Mr Hartsuyker was commenting on media reports that Choice was set to bail out the failed GroceryChoice scheme.

“The Rudd Government’s desperate move to save GroceryChoice fails to acknowledge its irrelevance to consumers,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“Australian consumers are not stupid. There is already a significant amount of information from supermarkets in the public domain and consumers use that to determine where they shop. Taxpayer’s money could be better spent on other things than a website, given there is other information in the marketplace for free.

“Why is it that the government can waste so much money with such a useless scheme in comparison to ChoiceSwitch, Choice’s new website that is a helpful initiative which allows consumers to switch energy providers.

“The Coalition has no objection to providing helpful information to consumers but the problem is - this is $13 million of taxpayer’s money.

“We will watch Choice’s progress carefully to ensure that there are marked improvements over the current flawed website.

“Choice may be able to achieve improvements to the website to make it more useful for consumers. Quite clearly the site can’t get much worse than it currently is.

“Figures reported in the media today show the Grocery Choice website figures have dropped from three million hits in its first month to just 54,000 hits this month. This is evidence of how useless and irrelevant the scheme is.

“This is a great embarrassment to both the Government and the ACCC who have proven they are completely unable to deliver meaningful information to consumers. It is why the Government is desperate to use a respected consumer organisation to bail them out.” Ends