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Supermarkets put on notice ahead of grocery price probe

The government has promised to use “all available levers” to make sure supermarkets pass on lower prices to shoppers.

Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and IGA are set to come under the microscope over their grocery prices, with the government warning supermarkets they should be passing on savings to customers at the checkout.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is set to announce today former Labor minister Craig Emerson as the head of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct review.

The review was announced in October. The code, which is voluntary, governs how Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and Metcash (which operates IGA) deal with suppliers and customers.

Coles, Woolworths and Aldi
Supermarkets have been told to pass on savings to customers, ahead of a government review. (Source: Getty)

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Food inflation has eased in recent quarters but remains high. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, it decelerated to 4.8 per cent in the year to September, down from its 9.2 per cent peak in December 2022.

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Albanese said the government would use “all available levers” to ensure businesses were passing on lower costs to customers.

“We have been clear – if the price for meat and fruit and vegetables is going down at the farm gate then families should be seeing cheaper prices on supermarket shelves too,” the PM said.

"Supermarkets have a duty to make sure they're providing affordable options for all Australians, especially when they're making savings on their own costs."

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The review will consider whether there should be a shift from industry-led codes of conduct and consumer functions to stricter, government-mandated requirements and consumer complaints handling.

It will also consider boosting consumer rights in circumstances where a lack of competition leads to unfair pricing and unacceptable service standards.

Emerson previously served as trade minister during the Gillard government and headed a federal review into the payment times reporting scheme, which aims to improve payment times for small businesses, in 2022.

A separate senate inquiry, led by the Greens, is also set to probe allegations of price gouging by the supermarket giants.

- With NCA NewsWire

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