THE IMPORTANCE of the Rudd Government’s grocery competition reforms have been highlighted in recent days as both Coles and Woolworths have taken steps to reduce prices and improve price transparency.
Competition and Consumer Affairs Minister Craig Emerson said the Rudd Government had been working hard to boost competition and tear down the barriers stopping supermarket rivals.
“The Rudd Government’s attitude is competition between supermarkets is good for both consumers and food producers.”
Coles and Woolworths are facing increasing competition from Aldi, which now has more than 200 stores in Australia with plans to increase its presence to 700 stores.
Costco has also opened a massive store in Melbourne and is planning to do so in Sydney.
The government’s pro-competitive reforms include:
1. Relaxation of foreign investment rules for overseas-owned supermarkets;
2. The removal of restrictive clauses in tenancy agreements between major supermarket chains and shopping centre owners that inhibited the entry of rivals;
3. The agreement of the Council of Australian Governments to begin removing unwarranted anti-competitive provisions in planning and zoning laws;
4. The announcement of amendments to the competition laws to address the issue of creeping acquisitions; and
5. The introduction of compulsory unit pricing in large supermarkets to empower consumers to identify the supermarket items representing the best value for money.
“The grocery price wars are good for consumers and the government will not relent in introducing more competition into grocery retailing.”