Big business profits are in full bloom

Published: 29/02/2024
Category: Australia Needs a Pay Rise
Published: 29/02/2024
Category: Australia Needs a Pay Rise

Profit reporting season is coming to a close – and the take-away? Big business recorded sunny skies with a good dose of thriving profits.

Let’s run through some of the numbers and what they mean for Australian workers, who are continuing to struggle through a cost-of-living crisis.

The usual suspects

It’s not hard to bankroll huge profits when you’ve cornered the market, and many customers are asking whether some of our biggest brands have mastered the art of price-gouging their way to the top.

Woolworths announced half-yearly profits of $929 million, up 2.5% on this time last year, and Coles hit $594 million profit.

Meanwhile, Qantas – which was singled out for its domination of Australian aviation in the recent Price-Gouging Inquiry – posted a half-yearly profit of $1.25 billion.

Insurance was the second-most reported product in the recent Inquiry into Price Gouging and Unfair Pricing Practices. And for good reason.

Two of Australia’s major insurance providers have had a bumper year: QBE more than doubled its net tax profit, from nearly $900 million to $2.08 billion, and IAG – responsible for well-known insurance brands like RACV and CGU – reported a half-yearly profit increase of 75%.

Chairman of the Price Gouging Inquiry, Professor Allan Fels AO, commented that the price of insurance had grown just shy of half again, in the last two and a half years, from what it had grown in the ten years prior to the pandemic!

All of this has a real impact on people, leaving many no longer able to afford to be insured.


Have you been watching the profit season unfold? Unsurprisingly there has been a deluge of corporate greed. Big businesses making BILLIONS or CEOs taking home million-dollar pay packets. Fight corporate greed by becoming a union member #corporategreed #profitseason #wages #workerexploitation #costofliving

♬ original sound – Aus Unions

We’ve seen petrol prices rise astronomically over the past year and continue to remain high, despite inflation easing.

This is classic ‘rockets and feathers’: prices are quick to rise when businesses can get away with it – often blaming global conditions or lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic – but are incredibly slow to fall when conditions ease, ‘like a feather falling to the ground’.

So it’s unsurprising that Australia’s biggest fuel company, Ampol, published an annual profit of $1.7 billion for the 2023 financial year.

Also hitting the billions is the Commonwealth Bank, which published a half-yearly profit of $4.8 billion.

While slightly down from its all-time record set in the same period last year, the significant profit underscores the extreme power of Australia’s Big Four banks; operating in a market with a serious lack of competition.


Forecasting the power to drive change

The Inquiry into Price Gouging is proving to be an invaluable snapshot into the experiences of everyday Australians in this cost-of-living crisis.

It demonstrates the tactics big business continue to use to maximise profits at the expense of consumers – and the role this has played in driving up inflation.

But here’s the thing – we can fight back at corporate greed: together as union members, we have the power to demand better wages, safer working conditions and a more equitable economy for everyone.

So if you’re ready to make change happen, it’s time to join your union.

Do something powerful

Big business profits are in full bloom

Big business profits are in full bloom