ACT Government confident new policy will deliver lower supermarket prices

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 22nd January 2010

The ACT Government has today outlined its new supermarket policy, which they argue will offer Canberra’s grocery shoppers “more choices, more suburban supermarkets and potentially cheaper prices”.Chief Minister and Minister for Business and Economic Development Jon Stanhope said the plan would guide future supermarket development and, in particular, address a shortage of larger, full-line independent supermarket stores in central Canberra and Gungahlin.

“This Implementation Plan incorporates the ACT Government’s response to the 15 recommendations of the Review of ACT Supermarket Competition Policy conducted by Mr John Martin, former Australian Competition and Consumer Commissioner, and launched on 7 October 2009,” Mr Stanhope explained.

The Martin Review found that while there was reasonable supermarket competition in the ACT retail grocery market, there were benefits in providing competition and potentially supporting an alternative source of wholesale grocery supply.

“This could contribute to the price competitiveness of independents including smaller retailers,” Mr Stanhope suggested.

Mr Stanhope said the ACT Government was keen to foster the expansion of the existing 50 smaller independent supermarkets in the territory, and to encourage new supermarkets in periods of rapid growth.The Implementation Plan sets out the essential elements of the Government’s Supermarket Competition Policy, including amending the eligibility criteria, which are among factors the Government must consider when making decisions on new supermarket sites.

“The launch of this plan will provide supermarket investors with greater certainty to expand their operations in Canberra.

“Importantly for Canberra shoppers there should, over time, be greater choice, lower prices and improved service,” Mr Stanhope concluded.