Page 4336 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 13 October 2009

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The consumer group Choice has supported the recommendations and the government’s approach to the review. The executive officer of Choice, Mr Christopher Zinn, has said:

CHOICE has welcomed the ACT Government’s decision to accept the innovative recommendations of the Martin Review into supermarket competition policy to kick-start changes to the Territory’s highly concentrated grocery sector.

Mr Zinn went on to commend the ACT government for a “well resourced review, which involved wide consultation with industry and the community, showed leadership and provided a template for other jurisdictions to follow”.

The CEO of the Canberra Business Council, Ms Chris Faulks, said her organisation was “delighted that the ACT government has recognised the importance of competition and diversity in the retail grocery sector” and that it had accepted the recommendations of the review.

Mr Chris Peters from the ACT retail traders association also applauded the government’s announcement and the move to enhance competition in the ACT supermarket sector by increasing opportunities for independent supermarket operators. Community groups have also shown strong support. The director of ACTCOSS, Ms Roslyn Dundas, said:

ACTCOSS supports the expansion of supermarket competition in the ACT—greater diversity should lead to greater choice in prices and this will benefit many Canberrans struggling to make ends meet.

Aldi, amongst a number of industry players, announced that it was pleased that the ACT government had accepted the recommendations in the review, “which will greatly assist our aim to bring the Aldi promise of smarter shopping—price, value, quality and convenience—to consumers in the ACT”. Aldi acknowledged that the largest impediment to its expansion was “the inability to identify and access correctly zoned sites”. Supabarn similarly expressed its support for the new policy. (Time expired.)

MR SPEAKER: Ms Porter, a supplementary question?

MS PORTER: Minister, what are the further benefits for the Canberra community of adopting the recommendations in this supermarket report?

MR STANHOPE: I think we are all aware quite innately of the benefits to this community of greater competition within the supermarket retail sector. Increased competition and diversity in the supermarket sector will inevitably lead to more choice and lower prices for all Canberrans. Of course price competitiveness is just one aspect of genuine competition. It is particularly important in relation to the staple groceries, the things that really are essential to life and quality of life. Accessibility is also important; diversity of product lines, convenience and service are other aspects of the mix.

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