Aussie grocery prices set to soar



There's some more bad news for Aussie households feeling the pinch, following reports the costs of groceries are set to soar.

According to several experts, our supermarket shop could soon be a lot more pricey as a result of border closures caused by the lethal coronavirus pandemic.

State border shutdowns have affected agricultural supply chains, while the freeze on international travel also means the industry is facing a critical backpacker shortage.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the impact of border closures on the agricultural industry could drive up supermarket prices.

"State health officials need to engage specifically with regional communities and industries at the direction of the premiers to identify workable solutions that keep supply chains open," Mr Littleproud said in a statement on Friday.

"Keeping all of our agricultural supply chains secure is absolutely critical to ensuring supermarket prices for fresh products remains affordable for Australians, while maintaining some of the best animal welfare standards in the world."

Meanwhile, National Farmers' Federation President Fiona Simson told Sunrise this morning that the drastic reduction of the backpacker workforce would likely make fruit and vegetables more expensive.

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Your regular supermarket shop could be about to get a whole lot more expensive. Picture: iStock
Your regular supermarket shop could be about to get a whole lot more expensive. Picture: iStock

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She said while the sector had been able to continue operating during the pandemic, border closures had thrown a spanner in the works.

"That is the problem. We do depend and operate as a whole country. We have movement of goods, movement of people across state borders and when they start to shut down, that means that we are really restricted to people who can pick our fruit and vegies, they can harvest the crops only," Ms Simson told the program.

"This is one of the craziest things about this country, we talk non-stop in the news about unemployment figures, how many people are out of work and how many people looking for work and yet we have a shortage in the bush. How do we get these people to these jobs?"

"That is the question because normally we had about 200,000 backpackers in Australia and now we're down to about 80,000 because of COVID-19."

She said most agriculture jobs were located outside the city centres, which meant border lockdowns restricted the flow of Aussies that could "actually drive those harvesters or pick that fruit".

"We really want Australians to help; it is more important than ever. Maybe this is the year to actually have a go at working on farms and do some seasonal work and see what it is like," she said.


Originally published as Aussie grocery prices set to soar