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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, seconded the Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter’s, Reducing Supermarket Dominance Bill 2024.

“Australians are struggling to put food on the table, petrol in the tank and roofs over their heads,” Mr Wilkie said. “Yet, Coles and Woolworths are making staggering profits. It is simply unconscionable that Coles and Woolworths rake it in while Australians chose between rent and food.

“Coles and Woolworths constitute a whopping 65 per cent of Australia’s grocery market and there is little reason for them to drop their prices. Coles has reported $1.1 billion in profits between 2022 and 2023, while Woolworths posted a thumping $1.62 billion profit on an operating margin twice that of many British supermarkets.

“As much as this feels like a crime, Coles and Woolworth can get away with it largely because of ineffective competition regulation and enforcement mechanisms. What we really need is a body that can identify and stamp out wrongdoing without having to wait for the Government’s say-so. That’s why we must legislate reform to the grocery market immediately, including by establishing regulation and accountability mechanisms which encourage competition and fairness.

“The Member for Kennedy’s Bill will reduce the market share of any supermarket to no more than 20 per cent via enforced and progressive divestiture over five years. This may sound like a drastic measure, but the fact is that this Bill was first introduced 10 years ago, and 10 years later the problem still has not been fixed. In fact the situation is even worse, demonstrating that governments must stop tinkering around the edges and instead make bold changes to our supermarket sector.”