Triple M Coffs Coast with Moffee

24 June 2024

MICHAEL “MOFFEE” MOFFETT, HOST: On the line with us right now, New South Wales Senator, Tim Ayres. Tim, good morning, mate.


SENATOR TIM AYRES: G'day Moffee, good to be with you.


MOFFEE: A couple of things I want to talk to you about is obviously the Food and Grocery Review, but also nuclear as well, two big topics at the moment.


SENATOR AYRES: Fundamentally, each of them is about costs and the cost of living, and the approach that this government is taking, a practical, measured approach that will be effective on the cost of living. All of your listeners will have seen the impact of energy price spikes and inflation on supermarket bills. We've had a big impact on inflation working through all of the government's policies, supporting people with the cost of living, tough fiscal policy to make sure we're putting downward pressure on inflation. Inflation had a six in front of it. It's now got a three in front of it, But the battle is not won, and we have been focused on getting prices down at the supermarket for every consumer. This Food and Grocery Review, conducted by Craig Emerson, all of its recommendations accepted by the government, will mean for some of the supermarkets, many billions of dollar fines for breaches of the Grocery Code, and that means downward pressure for you and your listeners on household supermarket bills.


MOFFEE: Tim, I have started shopping a lot at ALDI, and even, you know, I was talking to a friend about it yesterday, the other day, we're talking about the difference in price between a basket from Coles and Woolies compared to even ALDI. I noticed myself as well, how much of a difference there is between those supermarkets, but then you’ve got Coles and Woolies, which seem to be so close together.


SENATOR AYRES: Two points on this. Competition is good, and that’s what these reforms are supposed to drive. Big penalties for anti-competitive conduct, big penalties for a lack of transparency in their pricing processes. Of course, in Coffs Harbor, there are a number of supermarkets, so there is more competition. But if you're in a country town where there's only one supermarket, there's no competition. We are determined to drive competitive price practices through the supermarket sector. A lot of your listeners will have noticed that when beef prices fall at the farm gate for farmers, those same farmers are going into the supermarkets and finding beef prices going up. It's very hard to justify that if there's genuine competition in the system. The government's acted here in a way that's going to make a real difference for ordinary people. We haven't focused on the political rhetoric or being blowhards about this. We have focused on; what are the reforms that are going to make a difference? These are big, credible fines that will have a measurable impact on supermarkets' pricing practices. We're doing all the other things that we can do to put downward pressure on inflation, and through that downward pressure on interest rates, but today, on this measure, we've done the work and we've produced the results.


MOFFEE: Mate, let's talk about nuclear. Where's it stand at the moment?


SENATOR AYRES: Again, this is all about cost. All of the assessments about the relative prices of different forms of energy show nuclear being well and truly the most expensive form of energy for Australia. There are markets all over the world that have established nuclear industries that means the costs are different for them. But for Australia, nuclear is the most expensive, and Peter Dutton has produced an uncosted, risky and expensive nuclear plan. We are delivering $300 energy bill reductions in just a few days' time, alongside Labor's tax cuts, which go to every single Australian taxpayer. So, we are delivering real, practical results here. Fifty big renewables projects putting downward pressure again on energy prices, approved under this government and operating. Peter Dutton, on the other hand, has a costly and risky nuclear plan, which, if he was elected, wouldn't come into place for two decades and over that time, the disinvestment, the increase in costs, would decimate Australian industry and make life a lot harder for Australian households.


MOFFEE: Where do we go to? I mean, we've got to work it out somehow, don't we try and bring down costs?


SENATOR AYRES: Last election, I think Australian voters made a decision. The government has a plan for building an energy system of the future, that where not only our emissions will be reduced quickly over time, but also costs are reduced now. Costs for consumers, in electricity terms, we have had a war in Europe, and that can't be wished away. That has put dramatic upward pressure on global energy prices in every economy around the world.


MOFFEE: Look, it's obviously going to be a busy week again for you, and we thank you for coming on. But I just thought I'd share with you that at the moment, we're currently sitting on 13 degrees and heading for a top of 20 in sunshine, opposed to a top of 12 degrees in Canberra, and basically feeling like minus four right now.


SENATOR AYRES: It was freezing when I jumped out of my little flat at about five o'clock this morning, freezing and dark. I wish I was there with you and your listeners. I understand the surf has been pretty good and the water's still pretty warm.


MOFFEE: Exactly, mate, you have a good day and have a great week. We'll chat soon.


SENATOR AYRES: Thanks, Moffee. Catch you next week.


MOFFEE: I know where I'd prefer to be today, and that's not in Canberra. Tim Ayres, New South Wales Senator.