Media Releases

Professor Fels' report provides 'game plan' to tackle price gouging

February 02, 2024

In August of last year, the ACTU initiated an investigation into price gouging and unfair pricing behaviours. The inquiry was overseen by former ACCC Chair Professor Allan Fels AO. Today, the findings of this report have been released.

The inquiry has conducted public hearings in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Cairns, and Canberra, receiving over 750 public submissions and more than 20 detailed contributions from academics, experts, think tanks, unions, businesses, and their representatives.

In October last year Adelaide hosted the inquiry, hearing in-person testimony from experts and those in our community hit hardest by price gouging.

Professor Fels’ report examined a broad suite of industries, including banks, wholesale electricity and retail pricing, early childhood education and care, supermarkets, and electric vehicles.

His report found that:

  • Corporate profits have added significantly to inflation and some businesses have too much power
    over their customers, their supply chain, and their workers.
  • Many businesses are resorting to dodgy price practices, including loyalty taxes, drip pricing, excuse-flation, rockets and feathers strategies, and confusion pricing.
  • A range of sectors are insufficiently competitive or insufficiently regulated, leading to poor consumer outcomes and higher prices. The report makes 35 key recommendations: 6 relate to prices, 4 relate to mergers and divestiture, 5 relate to competition policy, and 20 relate to issues in specific industries examined in the report.

Professor Fels has handed his report to the ACTU and will also hand a copy of his report to the Government later today.

"The Adelaide inquiry heard heart-wrenching accounts of regular people struggling to make ends meet. What exacerbates the situation is the widespread occurrence of these stories." 

“This is not a cost-of-living crisis, it’s a cost of profits crisis.” 

"The findings of this inquiry underscore the urgent need for government intervention to rein in the unchecked greed of large corporations. Price gouging is a symptom of corporate profiteering, and it's high time we put an end to it.”

“This isn’t a report to sit in a drawer somewhere, it’s a game plan for government to put an end to price-gouging.”