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New inquiry into food prices and food security in remote Indigenous communities

Issue date: Thursday, 28 May 2020

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The Indigenous Affairs Committee has launched an inquiry into food prices and food security in Remote Communities.

Committee Chair Julian Leeser MP said it’s important that people in Indigenous communities have reliable access to food that is reasonably priced.

“There have been significant reports of very high food and grocery prices in Remote Communities and issues around the secure supply of fresh food,” said Mr Leeser.

“The inquiry will look at the situation in remote Indigenous communities, and the effect of supply chains and local businesses on the cost of food. The inquiry will also look at the role of regulators in dealing with the situation.”

“I strongly encourage Indigenous people and people in the food and grocery industry to make a submission to the inquiry.”

The Committee will consult with communities, community stores and supply chain businesses, Government agencies and other stakeholders to determine Indigenous communities have access to reasonably priced healthy food.

The Committee will present its final report by 30 October 2020.

For more information about this inquiry, including its terms of reference, details of upcoming public hearings, and instructions on making a submission, please visit the Committee’s webpage. You may also track the Committee to receive email updates on the inquiry by clicking the blue ‘Track Committee’ button.

The Terms of Reference of the inquiry are as follows:

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs will inquire into and report on the issue of food prices and food security in remote Indigenous communities (“Remote Communities”).

The Inquiry will identify and report upon factors contributing to higher prices and situations where prices are considered unreasonable and in particular investigate whether there is price gouging in any remote community stores.

This investigation should pay particular attention to the availability and pricing of fresh and healthy foods in remote community stores.

The Inquiry will also consider licensing and regulation as well as the governance arrangements for remote community stores across Australia, and what action, if any, that the Australian Government and States and Territory governments could take to address price gouging in Remote Communities.

The Inquiry should consider, report and where appropriate make recommendations on:

1.     The environment in which Remote Community retailers operate;

2.     The licensing and regulation requirements and administration for Remote Community stores;

3.     The governance arrangements for Remote Community stores;

4.     Comparative pricing in other non-Indigenous remote communities and regional centres;

5.     Barriers facing residents in Remote Communities from having reliable access to affordable fresh and healthy food, groceries and other essential supplies;

6.     The availability and demand for locally produced food in Remote Communities;

7.     The role of Australia’s food and grocery manufacturers and suppliers in ensuring adequate supply to Remote Communities, including:

a.     identifying pathways towards greater cooperation in the sector to improve supply;

b.     the volume of production needed for Remote Communities;

c.     challenges presented by the wet season in Northern Australia as well as any locational disadvantages and transport infrastructure issues that might be relevant;

d.     geographic distance from major centres;

8.     The effectiveness of federal, state and territory consumer protection laws and regulators in:

a.     supporting affordable food prices in Remote Communities particularly for essential fresh and healthy foods;

b.     addressing instances of price gouging in Remote Communities; and

c.     providing oversight and avenues for redress;

9.     Any other relevant factors.


The Committee will resume its inquiry into pathways and participation opportunities for Indigenous Australians in employment and business once this new inquiry is completed.

Media inquiries

Office of Julian Leeser MP
Media contact: Ms Annie Phillips
(02) 9980 1822

For background information

Committee Secretariat
02 6277 4559

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