Aug 062008

Sooo…..Grocery Choice. Fuel Watch, maybe. Can we have a website dedicated to … new cars sales, perhaps? What about tyre retailers? Cheapest travel agencies? What next?

I’m wondering, not having paid a whole lot of attention to this [select your commodity]-Watch fetish of the government’s, just how long it’s likely to be before the major retailers, of which there are only two, get a hold of this list of goods which makes up the so-called ‘average’ basket of groceries, and start manipulating it to suit themselves? As for the “average basket of groceries” hasn’t Choice been doing that with anonymous mystery shoppers running around recording shelf prices across the nation for more years than any of us care to remember?

It’s a political quick fix, just like the national fuel watch. Yet another bureaucratic waste of taxpayer funds in a bid to quiet the anti-Labor chatterers. Doesn’t the ACCC exist as a gatekeeper on consumer maintenance issues? Why are we – the taxpayer – employing a government with all of its existing instrumentality to go about constructing ever greater levels of bureaucracy for no worthwhile purpose? Is Grocery Watch going to guarantee that prices on groceries remain fair to the consumer, and producer while returning the wholesaler and retailer a reasonable margin? Is a national Fuel Watch program going to guarantee likewise in regard to petrol pricing?

Replace Graham Samuel with someone less inclined to kowtow to big business and more inclined to bare the teeth and go after big business, rather than simply making recommendations and retiring to the bureaucratic shadows.

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