KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has expressed his outrage at the sheer audacity of the supermarket giants, following today’s announcement that Coles has been banned for three years from advertising that its bread was made or baked on the day it was sold.
Coles has also been ordered to display a Federal Court Notice in its stores and on its website, telling consumers that it had broken Australian Consumer Law by falsely advertising bread products as “freshly baked” and “baked today”.
“It is extraordinary that Coles would advertise the bread as ‘fresh’ when it was made, partially baked then frozen some months earlier overseas,” Mr Katter said.
“Why would they do this? As the great economist John Quiggin said, “Because they can”.
“The supermarket giants here live in a world where they get whatever they like.
“There are only two people to sell to and two people to buy from, then obviously you have a situation which is disastrous for food producers.
“This is a colossal blow and essentially serves notice that the public of Australia have reached the end of bovine acceptance that ‘free markets will be good for us all’.
“A free market is when corporations feel free to ‘mark it up’ to whatever price they feel like it”.
“The Federal Government said we have to compete on the world market; our Australian dollar is dangerously high, our interest rates are the highest in the world and in other countries around the world farmers get nearly 40% of their income from the Government,” Mr Katter said.
“The LNP has been in power 13 of the last 18 years and they are in power now; their only proposal to reign in the supermarket giants control is through deregulation of trading hours.
“This proposal contained in the Government’s review of competition law (Harper Competition Review Draft Report) only strengthens the hands of the supermarket giants, and will completely wipe out whatever is left of the independent sector.
“The AC Neilson series tracked the supermarket giants’ growth at consistently 2% annually, accumulating a market share of 76.2% in 2002.
“The supermarket giant’s own annual reports to shareholders demonstrate market share growth of 2% annually. The Australian Bureau of Statistics in 1998; also had the supermarket giants on an annual growth of 2%.
“This judgement today confirms that we need to head off the untrammelled greed of the supermarket giants. If not, farmers and the future of our Australian agriculture are doomed,” Mr Katter said.
The Court is yet to decide whether to fine Coles, which faces penalties of up to $3 million.