Committee probes grocery prices and farm-gate deals

Bundaberg Member of Parliament Tom Smith. Newsreel
Bundaberg MP Tom Smith will chair a State Government committee looking into high grocery prices. | Supplied

Queensland’s first Supermarket Pricing Select Committee will probe continuing high grocery prices and the relationship between primary producers and supermarket chains.

Established in the wake of State Government meetings with the heads of Australia’s big four supermarkets, the committee is chaired by Bundaberg MP Tom Smith, whose electorate is made up of one of Queensland’s biggest food bowls.

Agricultural industry advocates have reported that while supermarket prices are going up, especially for fresh produce, farmers are not seeing a profit increase at the farm gate.

The select committee will consider:

  • Rising grocery prices in Queensland and discrepancies between retail and wholesale and farmgate prices, including different-sized businesses.
  • The variability in supermarket offerings and pricing across the state, particularly in regional Queensland and in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
  • The long-term trends in profits accruing along the supply chain for perishable produce, with a focus on impediments to the profitability of primary producers.
  • The conduct of retailers in negotiations with Queensland producers and the prevalence and effects of information asymmetry between these parties.
  • Improvements to Queensland’s policy environment to increase transparency for producers, including what data will reduce information asymmetry, and/or reduce prices for consumers.
  • Any other reviews or inquiries occurring in Australia regarding this matter, with a view to complement these analyses by focusing on potential Queensland Government responses.

The bipartisan committee, made up of three government members and three from the opposition and crossbench, will report back to the Queensland Parliament by May 21, 2024.