Clarification of Cathy Mcgowan’s position on competition in the supermarket sector.
In an article in the Border Mail entitled, ‘Duopoly remark a slap in the face’, I believe I was misrepresented in my position on the supermarket duopoly.
As a small business owner and farmer, I understand the problems the present supermarket duopoly causes. I have made no statement of support for duopolies. They put a huge amount of pressure on farmers and small businesses in our region.
I fully support diversity in competition, not only for food retailing but across all sectors. Small local supermarkets and grocers are a vital part of the supply chain in rural areas and we need them for our farmers and communities.
The duopoly is particularly concerning in rural areas where it is harder to sustain competition. I am aware they can use market power to force out smaller players, which hurts rural communities.
I always buy local if I can. I shop at my local Foodworks in Yackandandah and I grow my own veggies.
My comment at the forum, stemmed from a conversation I had had earlier that day with an emergency meal service provider in Wodonga. I repeated the comment that was, “if you’re poor, and you live in Wodonga, Coles and Woolies give you a really good service. We can’t ignore the fact that they do provide cheap food, and they work hard to do it.”
This was never an endorsement of the supermarket duopoly, but just an attempt to raise another consumer perspective I had heard in the community.
I am proud of the variety of agriculture all across our electorate and look forward to working with farmers and small business owners more closely when I am elected to figure out strategies that best suit their needs.
Indi depends on agriculture and food at all stages of the supply chain - growing, processing, manufacturing, distribution, and consumption. We need to consider all these stages together when developing policy.