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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 4 Hansard (8 April) . . Page.. 1159..

MR MULCAHY (continuing):

given by Eric Koundouris of Supabarn. The manner in which the major supermarket chains have worked against competitors and other small businesses is legendary. Australia has the greatest concentration of supermarket ownership in the world of any country, and the methods that will be applied by some of these chains is quite galling and quite disturbing in terms of providing competition in the marketplace and reasonable value for money for Canberra families.

In my previous career as a private business operator, I gave expert evidence in relation to matters the ACCC brought against Coles and Woolworths where they focused on the way in which they attempted to squeeze small liquor retailers out of the market, particularly in New South Wales. AC Nielsen data shows that the market share of full-line supermarkets of Woolworths and Coles is at 77 per cent nationally. Interestingly, in Canberra, the combined market share of full-line supermarkets of Coles and Woolworths is at 90 per cent, with Woolworths commanding 63 per cent and Supabarn commanding eight per cent.

As was pointed out in the evidence given by the Koundouris family today, independent supermarkets should be encouraged to develop and expand, and planning authorities should consider taking competition issues into account in planning decisions on any new supermarket developments. I am not sure whether they legally can, but there is certainly a very real issue in this region of a smaller competitor being crushed at every opportunity.

I hope other members will share my concern and will express to the ACCC their disquiet at these arrangements in the hope that we can try to preserve some measure of competition for the sake of families trying to make sure that their grocery dollar goes a little further and that they are not the victims of a duopoly which is largely becoming the case in so many areas of our Australian society.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 6.23 pm.

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