Economic experts have slammed companies accused of price gouging in a scathing new report accusing supermarkets, energy providers and even airlines of driving up costs for bigger profits.
University of Melbourne’s economics professor Allan Fels has delivered an 80-page report to the National Press Club of Australia recommending an investigation into “exploitative business pricing”.
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“My conclusion is Australians are paying prices that are too high, too often,” Fels said.
Fels wrote in his report that the impact of inflation has been “immense”, with “many consumers overcharged continuously”.
One of the biggest offenders according to Fels was Australia’s supermarkets.
“Our inquiry was flooded with submissions and concerns about supermarket prices,” Fels said.
University of Melbourne’s economics professor Allan Fels has delivered an 80-page report to the National Press Club of Australia. Credit: 7NEWS
A spokesperson for Coles said they were “disappointed” they were not invited to take part in the inquiry.
Fels also took aim at energy companies which he said were “riddled with questionable prices”, as well as health care and surgeries where prices, in some cases, had risen 300 per cent in five years.
Australian airline Qantas was also in the spotlight with Fels suggesting the federal government consider laws to break up the company, saying “there is a case for it” to happen.
One of the biggest offenders, according to Fels was Australia’s supermarkets. Credit: 7NEWS
Although extreme price gouging is not illegal in Australia, Fels suggested that the government investigate exploitative business pricing as well as a new pricing watchdog, stronger competition laws to make it illegal to overcharge, as well as payments for whistleblowers who come forward with information on businesses doing the wrong thing.
“It’s actual enforcement — that’s what’s important,” Fels said.