PUT YOUR MONEY IN
THE RIGHT POCKETS
2013 FEDERAL CAMPAIGN BY MARK ALDRIDGE INDEPENDENT.
Standing up for
hard working farmers and producers by the Aussie public is a worthy cause on
many fronts, whether it is to ensure hard working Australians get a fair go,
demand clean fresh and healthy produce, or to simply ensure we maintain a fair
and competitive market, the price of
inaction is indeed a price to high to pay, says Mark Aldridge, local
community advocate & Independent candidate.
The birth place of “Farm
Direct” community markets and my many campaigns over the past few years is
directly related to the lack of will of our supposed representatives to protect
our food and manufacturing industries.
dodgy product labelling, food dumping, the sale of our primary land and assets into
foreign hands, is only a part of a much bigger problem.
Australia has one
of the most concentrated grocery markets in the world. Woolworths and
Wesfarmers (owner of Coles) account for
over 80% of supermarket sales, 60% of alcohol retail, 50% of petrol retail
and 40% of all retail in Australia.
The more market share they gain, the more
influence they have over suppliers, and the easier it is to stamp out our smaller
independent retailers.Ironically West
farmers originated in the early 1900’s as a coop to support farmers and
producers, yet in recent times, have been accused more than once of using their
new found power to rape farmers of their hard earned rewards.
*Supermarket giant Woolworths has been
accused of using "brutal negotiations" to squeeze price cuts from
suppliers to help fund a price war with rival Coles.*
Just recently many
producers and growers have come forward with reports of unfair market
manipulation, where Woolworths themselves have demanded a lowering of the
wholesale price so they can enter a price war with Coles, those that refuse
have been told they will be taken off the shelves, and we all know the risk of
replacements coming from some foreign growers and producers.
“My investigations go much further
showing all sorts of deceitful practices” says Mark
Having met with many
local producers and spoken to the experts in the agricultural industry, what I
am hearing is simply un-Australian, from undue influence, market manipulation
to our right deceitful and misleading conduct.
Most countries offer their primary producers
government subsidies to help
them compete on the world stage, our farmers and growers are by far the most
productive, yet the governments only input is excessive red tape to achieve
“Fresh food accreditation”, which most overseas governments ignore, begging the
question “If imported foods take over where local fresh production once
supplied all our needs, what exactly will we be eating?
stories from so many growers brings a tear to my eye, months tending to their
crops, careful picking and packing, shipping it off to one of the big 2, only
to be told their produce is rejected, but wait we can take it of your hands for
half price or less, yet the same produce hits the shelves at full price, wiping
out producers on a weekly basis, this type of conduct is nothing more than
Woolworths “The fresh food people” have their hands in many
pies, they are also Australia's largest owner of poker machines (13,480
machines) and the largest seller of tobacco and alcohol.
Wesfarmers operates in the areas of retail, coal
mining, energy, insurance, chemicals and fertilisers, and industrial and safety
products, buying up Coles Group in 2007 for $22 billion.
These supermarket giants have been
blamed for Australians paying the fastest growing prices for groceries in the
developed world, so it
is as usual all about the money, it is not about the quality of the produce or
the protection of hard working farmers and producers, and it is definitely not
about our countries best interests.
“Woolworths and Coles are a $100 Billion
a year duopoly with a retail market share unmatched in the developed world, and
our politicians are doing nothing to stem their growth or market dominance”
Says Mark Aldridge, so it is time we the people did!
With a reported 80%
or more of the market in groceries, they have a massive impact in Australia, England’s
largest 2 enjoy 48% and the US a mere 20%, so it is fair to consider our
government should have put the brakes on long ago, and more than enough reason
for we the people to do it for them in the circumstances.
Over the past few years I have fought
for reforms, held rallies, lobbied and spoken all over the state and nation on
the topic, yet the government and the coalition refuse to act, “Why do
Australian voters keep rewarding such incompetence?
”We have lost a huge
slab of farming land to international interests, most of our larger
manufactures and mass food packaging companies have also found their way of
shore, so it has become imperative that those that remain are not only
protected but we build an accountable system, which will reward increased
investment in the vital production of our food stocks, not just for us, but
also for future generations.
Have many noticed
that most big shopping centres only have one or maybe both of these grocery
stores, yet none of their competitors, well that is not a coincidence, their
huge money ensures they can now control competition.
It is not only
about how our producers are treated and even paid, it is also about the rights
of consumers, my wife and I prefer local products and Australian made items,
yet it is far from easy to tell the difference, labelling is less than
satisfactory, and some home brand products are deliberately misleading, shelf
placement also makes a huge difference.So many issues
arise when we simply wish to make an informed choice, Australian made, GMO,
even Halal certification, as if we need not know, yet it is our money, our bodies
and our long term future, so it should be our choice,
China is known to treat its cabbages with
formaldehyde and some foreign apple growers used the antibiotic streptomycin on
their apples to control fire blight, do any of us want our children exposed to
“More than 23 cents in every dollar
Australians spend ends up in this duopolys pockets” begging the question “Where
the hell is our government and their ACCC.
Dare we allow this
to continue, our farmers, growers and
producers are being forced to live on as low as 5% of what you are paying at
the counter, so the supposed huge discounts on offer are smoke and mirrors,
and it becomes unbelievable the big 2 want to reduce their meagre 5%, do the
sums, only then will you get a true picture facing those on the land.
“The story I heard recently of an area with
27 growers being reduced to 2, due to dirty practices, in less than a year is
Until I am elected to take on this
battle with the federal government, I have opened several “Farm Direct” Markets
across the state, and actively work with our farming Industry to ensure their
My 2013 Federal campaign “Put your money
in the right pockets” will continue to ask every Australian to also lead by example
because while we endure mediocracy in government, it is up to we the people to
get the job done.
We must also demand
easy to read labelling to allow us to support local produce and priority shelve
locations, if they are all about serving the Australian public, then these
demands should be perfectly acceptable.For more
information please contact the writer.
Mark M AldridgeCommunity advocate
and Independent candidate for the federal seat of Wakefield
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