MEMBER for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has expressed serious concerns about the latest price war being waged between supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths over fruit and vegetables, fearing the move will devastate farmers.
Mr Entsch said the dominance of Coles and Woolworths in Australia was reaching alarming proportions, with Coles set to cut the price of fruit and vegetables by up to 50 percent in the latest move to achieve market dominance.
“This issue has been a concern to me for some time but it has now developed into a serious problem that needs to be debated and addressed,” Mr Entsch said.
“The farmers are going to get screwed with this latest move by Coles because there is no doubt Woolworths will be forced to follow their lead to slashing prices on fruit and vegetables.
“We saw this type of loss-leading tactics with milk and bread at the two big supermarket chains and we can see what they’ve done with petrol, alcohol, fuel and hardware.
“We’ve got Woolworths building a new ‘Masters’ hardware store in Cairns to rival Coles-owned Bunnings so the concern is that smaller family businesses simply won’t be able to compete when these two giant stores try to outdo each other.”
Mr Entsch said he was so concerned about the increasing dominance of the two supermarket giants he intends to raise it as a matter of debate in the Coalition party room when parliament resumes next week.
“Healthy competition is fantastic, we need more of it, but in my view the dominance of Coles and Woolworths is alarming, it’s unhealthy and it’s not in the best long-term interest of the community,” Mr Entsch said.
“I’m looking seriously at what has happened in the United States where they have restricted market share and I’d like to see if this is something we need to look at doing in Australia.
“The current level of dominance is not sustainable in the long term. With these types of price wars we are experiencing short term benefit for long term pain.
“I intend to put this issue on the agenda to have it addressed as a matter of urgency.”
“We’re seeing the consequence of the lack of competition in the market place when it comes to strata title insurance, as evidenced by rises of up to 1000% in strata title premiums.
“We cannot the same type of price gouging to occur in other sectors as a result of the dominance of Coles and Woolworths.”