Saffin announces plan to shield family businesses

Labor candidate for Page Janelle Saffin today announced a five-point plan to shield family businesses from schemes by Woolworths and Coles to further expand their reach on the North Coast.

The plan follows Labor Leader Kevin Rudd’s announcement that a Federal Labor Government would toughen trade practices laws to better protect small businesses.

“This is an issue of real concern to families and small businesses on the North Coast,” Ms Saffin said.

“Woolworths have announced that they will be establishing 56 new stores across the country over the next year — and there is talk that they will be expanding into pharmaceuticals, alcohol and banking.

“This has the potential to cut our local town centres like a ribbon.

“The last thing our community needs is these faceless multinationals using predatory pricing tactics — like ‘shopper dockets’ — to displace local jobs.

“I look forward to working closely with Mr Rudd to take action.”

Ms Saffin said that concerned local businesses had already contacted her about the predatory pricing schemes — and she pledged action.

“Everyone knows how these big corporations work,” she said.

“They move into a new area and offer all sorts of incentives to get control of the market — and once they have it, prices mysteriously start to rise again.

“It’s a con job and it’s happening right across the country.”

Ms Saffin said that, if elected, she would be lobbying for a local action plan to take on Woolworths and Coles, including initiatives such as:
Requesting an ACCC inquiry into controversial shopper dockets and ‘shelving’ policies — where producers are expected to pay for prime positions on shelves;
Opposing any attempt by the National Competition Council to allow pharmaceuticals or alcohol to be sold in supermarkets;
Consideration of mandatory labelling to disclose the ‘mark-up’ on local items sold by the major supermarkets and the length of time products have been stored before point-of-sale;
Consideration of appointing a National Consumer Ombudsman to closely monitor these multinational conglomerates and expose sharp practice; and
More funding to promote local small businesses, producers and farmers.

“This is a debate about the sort of community we want to raise our families in,” Ms Saffin said.

“Make no mistake — these multinational companies and their aggressive marketing cannot be trusted controlling our chemists, pubs and banking.”

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