The House 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 State and Territory governments could take to address price gouging in Remote communities.
The Inquiry should consider, report and where appropriate make recommendations on:
- The environment in which Remote Community retailers operate;
- The licensing and regulation requirements and administration of Remote Community stores;
- The governance arrangements for Remote Community stores;
- Comparative pricing in other non-Indigenous remote communities and regional centres;
- Barriers facing residents in Remote Communities from having reliable access to affordable fresh and healthy food, groceries and other essential supplies;
- The availability and demand for locally produced food in Remote Communities;
- The role of Australia's food and grocery manufacturers and suppliers in ensuring adequate supply to Remote Communities, including:
- identifying pathways towards greater cooperation in the sector to improve supply;
- the volume of production needed for Remote Communities;
- challenges presented by the wet season in Northern Australia as well as any locational disadvantages and transport infrastructure issues that might be relevant;
- geographic distance from major centres;
- The effectiveness of federal, state and territory consumer protection laws and regulators in:
- supporting affordable food prices in Remote Communities particularly for essential fresh and healthy foods;
- addressing instances of price gouging in Remote Communities; and
- providing oversight and avenues for redress;
- Any other relevant factors.