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Greens seek to cap cost of essential grocery items

By Fraser Barton
Updated July 10 2024 - 8:20am, first published 8:18am
The Queensland Greens have proposed a price cap on basic essential grocery items such as milk. (Paul Miller/AAP PHOTOS)
The Queensland Greens have proposed a price cap on basic essential grocery items such as milk. (Paul Miller/AAP PHOTOS)

Households would save on 30 essential grocery products under a cap on prices put forward by the Queensland Greens.

The price of basic essential items such as milk, bread, eggs and nappies would be tied and linked to January 2024 wages so that wages match price growth, the Greens said.

The minor party, which has two MPs in Queensland parliament, will set up a Fair Prices Authority in the hope of breaking up a duopoly held by supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths.

For the Greens to legislate their proposed Fair Prices Authority, it would require government support as the three-term Labor government holds a majority ahead of the October 26 state election.

Queensland had held an inquiry in 2024 into supermarket pricing that was tasked with investigating supply chains between primary producers, supermarkets and consumers.

A report from the inquiry found consumers are at a disadvantage due to the dominant market share held by Coles and Woolworths.

It also made eight recommendations including introducing a farmers' commissioner to act as a central point of contact between producers, to report on the difference between farmgate and supermarket prices and be able to complain about adverse behaviours.

Cost-cap measures are used overseas and there is no reason the same cannot be used in Queensland, Greens MP Amy MacMahon said.

"The government can and should directly intervene by capping grocery prices to bring down the cost of Queenslanders' groceries," she said.

"A number of European governments are taking direct action to lower the cost of food, there's no reason why we can't do it here in Queensland."

Discounts on essential goods do exist in Queensland with the government subsidising them for communities in the state's far north.

The Remote Communities Freight Assistance Scheme has seen about 32 retailers across Cape York, Torres Strait and Gulf regions sign up after being announced by Premier Steven Miles in June.

Subsidies on essential goods such as milk, bread and fresh produce will rise from 5.2 per cent to 20 per cent under the scheme.

Australian Associated Press