Catholic Religious Australia has called out price-gouging practices amid Australia’s cost-of-living crisis in a submission to the Australian Council of Trade Unions’ Inquiry into Price Gouging and Unfair Pricing Practices.
CRA was invited to make a submission to consider the connection between dwindling living standards and increasing corporate profits by Professor Allan Fels, who is leading the inquiry and is a former chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
In its submission, CRA expressed concern that the mining sector and corporations have been using supply chain disruptions and consumer demand to raise prices well above production and procurement costs, driving up inflation and costs for consumers.
Both the Reserve Bank and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development have confirmed that higher unit profits have been a driver of high and persistent inflation.
“Although price gouging is not illegal in Australia, it’s unethical when it prevents the fair and reasonable allocation of resources to the community at large,” CRA president, Fr Peter Jones OSA said.
“The majority of Australia’s economic profits are only being received by the top 10 per cent of income recipients, namely the major Australian businesses and corporations. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Australians are experiencing extreme poverty and struggling to afford basic living necessities,” he added.
The submission to the Fels inquiry has followed a previous submission by CRA to a Senate inquiry into the cost of living, as well as a letter to the Government highlighting the particular challenges the cost-of-living crisis is posing for Australia’s youth.
“Factors such as the indexation of student debt, and the unaffordability of the housing market, coupled with the current inflated cost of living, are pushing our young people into poverty,” said Anne Walker, CRA National Executive Director.
“CRA has therefore repeatedly called for multi-faceted reform to shape a more dynamic and just economy,” she said.