The Australian Government has directed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to hold a public inquiry into the competitiveness of grocery prices in Australia.

The ACCC will be distributing an Issues Paper shortly on matters relevant to the inquiry and will call for public submissions particularly to address issues raised in the paper.

On the basis of responses received, the ACCC will then hold a series of public hearings throughout Australia.

The inquiry will be conducted by the Chairman of the ACCC, Mr Graeme Samuel, and Commissioners, Mr John Martin and Dr Stephen King.

This is a price inquiry under the prices surveillance provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974. These provisions provide the ACCC with information-gathering powers and the ability to take evidence on oath from witnesses.

In accordance with the provisions in the Act the ACCC is required, as soon as practicable, to give notice that an inquiry is being held. Therefore, the attached notice is being published in the Gazette and in newspapers circulating in each state and territory.

Information about the inquiry will be available on the ACCC website.

The inquiry is due to report to the Government by 31 July 2008.