Dutton’s divestiture plan would help with cost-of-living, keep lid on inflation

by Matt Grudnoff
A general view of an Woolworths Metro Supermarket in Melbourne, Friday, June 16, 2023. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING


The Coalition’s proposed divestiture powers to break up major hardware and grocery retailers could help keep inflation down and assist with cost-of-living pressures.

“The introduction of divestiture laws is a sensible tool to stop large companies like Woolworths and Coles misusing their market power. It would be good for prices at the checkout and help keep inflation down,” said Matt Grudnoff, Senior Economist at the Australia Institute.

Research from the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work, released at the beginning of 2023, showed that corporate profits, not wages, were the major driver of the burst of inflation in Australia that followed the Covid lockdowns.

“The Australian economy has become less competitive over the last few decades and these laws would go some way to addressing that structural imbalance.

“Our current competition laws have few ways of making an already uncompetitive industry more competitive.

“Divestiture powers will enable the government to break up large businesses abusing their market power and force them to compete, leading to lower prices and better service for consumers.

“In other economies, including the UK and the US, broad ranging divestiture powers are already in place. If adopted in Australia, these new powers would just bring us into line with other OECD countries.”

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