We need wartime like quotas to stop Coles and Woolworths buying and hoarding
COSBOA today expressed alarm at reports that Coles and Woolworths are buying large lots of food and essential products to then warehouse and use to shore up their businesses to the detriment of community health.
Peter Strong stated today “I have spoken to the Chairman of the ACCC, Rod Sims, and he informed me that he will be making a speech on Monday about competition and he firmly believes that supply of groceries and fresh produce to the small business retail and processing sector is vital to people’s health and to the economy.
COSBOA members know that the health of the community, of individuals, is paramount issue to the National Cabinet. Yet the duopoly believe that concentrating purchasing power will be of benefit to the community. It will only be of benefit to Coles and Woolworths. We also note they are recruiting tens of thousands of workers which we assume is to corner the home delivery market. Coles and Woolworths are an important part of our retail market but if they become the only part then health will be affected and there will be more risk of the supply chain failures due to such concentration of power.”
COSBOA knows that people need access to local businesses to provide goods and services. If a local convenience store or a butcher is unable to get product for consumers then households will be forced to shop at the duopoly which may be further away and more difficult for travel purposes, as well as posing a greater health risk. The duopoly may not deliver to their area.
Cafes and restaurants that have embraced home delivery need their produce as well to maintain supply. Having two organisations deliver all of the goods needed in Australia is not possible and is dangerous.
Mr Strong added “this is about health and about a viable economy. The National Cabinet must control and limit the behaviour of Coles and Woolworths now. They should also force them to release stock to smaller retailers, at cost and with transport provided, as access to product dries up due to the mass corporate panic buy undertaken by the duopoly.”
Mr Strong also stated “we are all in this together and together we can get through this to the best of our ability. Relying on two organisations to get us through removes the role of the National Cabinet and replaces it with two corporate boards of organisations that have had plenty of fines in the past for flouting the law and using their power to dominate others.
We know that the way forward is by big, medium and small businesses working together to provide the services and goods we need in the safest way possible. All businesses being able to operate as best they can if they can without impediments. There are enough impediments already."