17 September, 2023
Katter pushes for food security and farmer protection
FEDERAL Member for Kennedy Bob Katter believes the nation’s food security begins by protecting and rewarding farmers, submitting to the government six key agriculture legislation recommendations.
Mr Katter has made a submission to the Committee on Agriculture’s Inquiry into food security in Australia, with his major concern being the power major supermarkets hold over both the growers and the consumers.
“Among the supermarket giants, the big two, and the smaller third - they don't compete against each other, they compete with each other,” he said.
“So, it might not be a monopoly here, or a duopoly, but it certainly is an oligopoly.
“During my travels I often arrive in Townsville late at night and chose to buy my groceries from the IGA near the airport. And until we all start shopping at the independents more, the poor old farmer will continue selling his potatoes to the supermarket for 52c per kilo, and we’ll keep buying them for $3.50.
“So, the farmers are getting bugger all, families are paying increasing amounts for their food, and between all that there are executives earning millions because they have full market control.”
Mr Katter said the 2022 household expenditure survey showed the average weekly shop for a family of four was $478 per week, while in 1990 it was $148 per week – an increase of 223%.
In the same time period, average wages had only increased by 226%, from $550 per week to $1808 per week.
Katter’s six legislation recommendations:
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 legislatiDon 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), and
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”.