Senate inquiry to look into abandoned Grocery Choice website

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 13th August 2009

The Federal Government will be held to account for the failed attempt to set up a successful grocery price monitoring website.

A Senate vote on Wednesday saw the Federal Opposition receive their wish for a Senate inquiry into the failed GroceryChoice website, which was scrapped in June just days before the revamped version was set to go live.

The Rudd Government spent millions on the election promise but then decided it would be too difficult to deliver a site that would be useful for consumers, much to the disappointment of consumer group Choice.

Liberal Senator Guy Barnett reported that the inquiry, which was supported by the Coalition, the Greens, Family First and Independent Nick Xenophon, will try to ascertain the amount of taxpayer money wasted and whether the major supermarket chains had too much of a say in the canning of the site.

“There are some very serious issues in terms of competition policy, possible trade practices concerns, legal concerns, and all these matters will be considered by the Senate committee,” he said, according to the ABC. “What we’re going to do is try and find out exactly how much they’ve wasted, the inefficiency and mismanagement, and this is very important to keep the Government accountable.”

The Senate’s Economic References Committee will handle the inquiry and report its findings in October.