Can The Government Force Supermarkets To Lower Their Prices, And Should It?

Groceries prices are skyrocketing, with a quick trip to the supermarket for a few essentials adding up to a small fortune.

In response to allegations major supermarket chains, including Coles and Woolworths, are price gouging, the federal government announced a review into grocery prices in a bid to reduce cost of living pressure.

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Former Gillard cabinet minister Craig Emerson has been appointed as the review’s head, but even with the inquiry in place; one questions remains.

Can the government actually force supermarkets to lower their prices, and should it?

In this episode of The Briefing, Bension Siebert is joined by Tim Harcourt and Gary Mortimer to investigate just what power the government has.

Mr Mortimer said there would be a way for the government to play its part in regulating grocery prices.

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“Ultimately in a free market open economy that we have here in Australia, and I guess across many other westernised countries no, they can’t.

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“Although as I say that, if the government was to particularly look at possibly a range of products and then set prices or suggested recommended prices for those products, they ultimately could legislate for that.

“But the complexities around how that legislation would be applied, enforced, checked in, in a food sector is incredibly complex, and I think right now what we’re seeing, obviously, with several inquiries into supermarket food prices, I don’t think that’s particularly going to lend to lower prices.

“The only way you achieve lower prices is through greater competition.”

There’s a lot in this episode of The Briefing, especially for those struggling with rising costs of essentials and what is being done about it.

Listen to the full episode of the LiSTNR app now or wherever you get your podcasts.

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