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Greens and Libs call for probes of ‘price-gouging’ supermarket duopoly

Profiteering by Coles and Woolworths has united the Greens and Liberals.,

Profiteering by Coles and Woolworths has united the Greens and Liberals., Photo: TND/Getty

Supermarket giants accused of price gouging during a cost-of-living crisis could be scrutinised by a parliamentary committee.

The Greens will seek to establish an inquiry into the impact of market concentration on food prices and the pattern of pricing strategies employed by the supermarket duopoly.

Coles and Woolworths will be in the spotlight as the inquiry scrutinises the increasing cost of essential items, validity of discounts offered and profit inflations.

Greens senator Nick McKim said major supermarkets have had far too much power in Australia for too long.

“Coles and Woolworths are making billions in profits because they feel that they can overcharge people without repercussions (and) it needs to end,” he said.

“We want the CEOs to justify their decisions in a public hearing.”

But Nationals leader David Littleproud said a parliamentary inquiry would take too long when action was needed now to address the cost of living crisis facing Australians.

He has pushed for the consumer watchdog to investigate whether price gouging was occurring.

“The cost-of-living crisis is now, not next year and the supermarkets have form on this, having gouged consumers during COVID,” he said.

“An Australian Competition and Consumer Commission inquiry could have started the investigation before Christmas and actions … can be undertaken immediately, without having to wait for the completion of the (parliamentary) inquiry.”

Coles and Woolworths both posted profits of more than $1 billion in the past financial year.

-AAP

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