A Facebook post drawing attention to the high prices locals in remote communities are paying for basic groceries has gone viral.
A woman – who lives in Wonga, in North Queensland – shared a series of photos showing a 16-pack of toilet paper being sold for $25, a 500-gram tin of instant coffee for $46 and a 170-gram packet of potato chips for $6.
This compares to Woolworths, which sells a six-pack of the same toilet paper for just $7.50 and charges $18 for a 250-gram tin of instant coffee.
Coles sells a 12-pack of the toilet paper for just $4.70 and charges $14 for a 500-gram tin of the same instant coffee.
“This is what our people pay in the communities,” the woman wrote in the post, which has since been shared almost 5000 times.
Encouraging others to share their expensive finds, the mother said she wanted to bring attention to the issue “so people realise the struggles affecting our communities”.
“Yarrabah [east of Cairns] isn't so remote but one of our shops sells a packet of 25 Lipton tea bags for $5.50,” one person responded.
“Living remotely in communities the cost of living is high but these prices are just f***ing ridiculous,” another added.
A third person wrote that while they understood distance was an issue, they found it hard to believe it would add such a significant cost.
“I understand there’s a freight cost but there really is no justification for THAT much of a price hike in any circumstance,” one user wrote.
Others described the price hike as “appalling”.
The issue of overpriced groceries in remote areas recently gained media attention when a woman from Townsville posted an image of frozen lamb chops priced at $82.27 from a store in Palm Island, operated by not-for-profit Community Enterprises Queensland (CEQ).
According to its website, CEQ provides “essential community services to Torres Strait and mainland Aboriginal communities”.
CEQ responded to Yahoo News Australia stating the price was “incorrectly labelled by our supplier” and as soon as the store was made aware of the issue, they removed the item from sale.
But the manager of the not-for-profit’s supplier, Warwick Meats Sales, told nine.com.au the price was right, but it did not stipulate it was a “family pack” of meat.
"There was 2.1kg of meat in there. If you go into just about any little butcher on the Gold Coast you will find it at that price. Supermarkets can do it a bit cheaper because they absorb the costs," Shane Leehy said.
Mr Leehy claimed the freight cost of the meat made up “a fair bit” of the price.
One man, Gene Stewart-Murray, was shocked when he was faced with the price of groceries while working in remote locations around Australia and started a petition to call on the government to provide subsidies for the cost of transporting goods.
“After spending lengthy periods throughout remote Australia, working in remote indigenous communities, it became apparent that the price of general necessities at local stores (generally privately owned by corporate companies) was outrageously high,” Mr Stewart-Murray wrote.
At the time of publication, the petition had attracted more than 800 signatures from people supporting the cause.
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