We, the taxpayers, fund a large department with the title (the) Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Leaving the old joke, “why is there only one anti-monopolies organisation?” to one side, it’s clear that this is the epitome of unnecessary government spending.
Remember the last day of term at school? Books and games in class while the teacher slept off the lunchtime visit to the Rose and Crown (maybe that was just my school)? Well, every weekday in ACCC Towers is like that. The staff wander in at the crack of 10am with a copy of the West End Final version of the Evening Standard (ok, that line only really works in London), have some toast and Vegemite and then settle down in stall #1 with a tricky Sudoko.
If you were stupid enough to email them a complaint about a potential monopoly situation or anti-competitive business practice, don’t expect a reply until the Christmas party arrangements have been finalised.
I know what you’re thinking; “Oh, stop exaggerating, TNA, these are hard-working civil servants, all of whom would be snapped up in the private sector if they ever resigned from the ACCC”.
We’ve already seen that they don’t think there’s anything unusual about 97.5% of all beer consumed in Australia being produced by just two companies. Not even Australian companies either! I dropped a complaint in the inbox about this and got a boiler plate response from the Out of Office auto-reply function while they were all down in the subsidised staff canteen playing fußball.
But it gets worse. I don’t know why it took me so long but last night I realised that most bottle shops (off-licences, if you’re reading this in the motherland) are owned by just two companies; Woolworth’s and
Just like the two brewers keep the brands and Ltd companies extant to obfuscate the fact that they own everything, the supermarkets do it too with bottle shops.
Dan Murphy’s Woolworth’s
Safeway Liquor Woolworth’s
Liquor Land Coles
Vintage Cellars Coles
1st Choice Liquor Coles
It’s hard to find statistics of sales volumes for bottle shop chains as a ratio of total sales in Australia, if I find some I’ll post another rant. In the meantime, going purely on observation, I’ll suggest that the brands listed above must account for at least 80% of alcohol sales in Australia.
Thank you ACCC for completely failing the Australian beer consumer. You’ve allowed duopolies to occur in brewing, supermarkets and bottle shops. Maybe we should just nationalise the lot to complete your mission of totally fucking things up?
By the way, if you’re an Australian reading this and you don’t really understand why I’m whining on about this, click this link and weep; Amstel 6 pack for £4.50. That’s about $7.50.
An equivalent purchase of local beer in Australia would be about $20.