Yesterday, the Inquiry into Price Gouging and Unfair Pricing Practices commenced in Melbourne, convened by economist and former ACCC chair Professor Allan Fels and commissioned by the ACTU.
The cost of goods and services has increased exorbitantly – working people are suffering through one of the most harrowing cost-of-living crises in Australian history.
In the short time since the Inquiry’s launch in August, there have been over 600 submissions, largely made by everyday working Australians.
In yesterday’s hearing, the Inquiry heard from the Australia Institute’s policy director Greg Jericho.
“Blaming workers for seeking higher wages now is almost akin to blaming a homeowner whose house is on fire, for using too much water to put out the flames,” Greg says.
The Australia Institute’s findings were that 56 per cent of price increases above inflation (at 2-3 per cent) were company profits.
Hardest working Australians are feeling it the most
Yesterday’s hearing also heard from Danielle Jaeger, a paediatric nurse and ANMF member. Despite working full time, Danielle is struggling to afford the necessities, and calls buying presents for her nieces and nephews these days a “luxury”.
Amidst all of the other rising costs she’s contending with, Danielle’s home insurance has increased by 40 per cent despite Danielle having not made a claim.
“I’m now having to look at getting a second job just to be able to manage,” Danielle says, “And when I say ‘manage’ it’s around being able to pay my bills, being able to have food in the fridge, and being able to continue to have a roof over my head.”
Why do we need an Inquiry?
The landmark Inquiry will hold further hearings across Australia and is investigating:
- The extent of price gouging facing working people on essential items,
- The disproportionate effect experienced by cohorts of workers and vulnerable groups, and
- The effect of price gouging on the safety and mental health of workers providing essential goods and services.
The ACTU will receive the inquiry’s report and make this available to policy makers, support providers, and the Australian public.
Anyone affected by price gouging can make a submission here.