KATTER’S Australian Party MP Bob Katter says there’s no reason the two supermarket giants can’t follow Aldi’s lead, which recently announced it would stock only Australian-grown avocados.
Mr Katter, a passionate advocate for Australian agriculture and produce questioned why the popular fruit needs to be imported in the first place, especially when each year he witnesses images of excess avocados being dumped.
Mr Katter said if a German-backed “minority” supermarket operating in this country had the moral sense to stock Australian produce only, he struggled to understand why Coles and Woolworths, “two supposedly” Australian operators couldn’t follow suit.
“The IGA’s when we had a big cyclone, said that they would not import bananas, and we were able to bludgeon Woolworths and Coles into submission on bananas,” Mr Katter said.
“We talk about food security and the need to future-proof our industries, well there is no simpler step than prioritising home-grown produce over imports.
“Wouldn’t it be nice if our supermarket duopoly also considered the impacts of food security on both producers and consumers. We live in a world where our potatoes grown less than 100km from Cairns are yielding 50c for the farmer, and then over $3 at the supermarket.
“I think the corporate classes – the wokies – pay themselves what they feel like, $10m a year is not uncommon. Meanwhile, they work to eliminate workers; I refuse to go into and use the self-service at these supermarkets.”
Mr Katter recently made a submission to the Federal Government’s inquiry into food security with his major concern being the power major supermarkets hold over both the growers and the consumers.
He made recommendations which he said would improve conditions for producers and value for customers.
These recccomendations are:
1 – Food and manufacturing labelling that highlights hidden imports and prevents fraud.
2 – Fresh produce labelling system that indicates the farm-gate price and the supermarket mark up.
3 – Divestiture legislation that reduces the market power of the corporations that operate the major supermarkets with the objective of levelling the playing field providing a competitive marketplace for consumers and suppliers.
4 – National Office of Better Agricultural Regulation with powers to reduce red tape and consider the actual cost of implementing both marketplace regulations.
5 – Investment in infrastructure and critical supplies/ support industries to reduce production and transportation costs (i.e. gas prices for fertiliser, chemicals, fuel, worker access).
6 – Reforming the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme to ensure farmers have direct access to the program.
Mr Katter said these laws would not only provide fair prices for both growers and consumers, but also address affordable living, which “everyone in Parliament is going on about, but barely acting on.”