Rural communities are bearing the brunt of Australia’s cost-of-living crisis with milk going for up to $9 and a mixed salad pack for $17.
The exorbitant prices reflect the fact remote stores have to foot the bill for increasing freight costs, but a public health expert has also called out the monopolies that exist in some towns for ‘charging whatever they like’.
Examples of the colossal price hikes were seen at two separate remote places in the Northern Territory in April and June this year.
A receipt for a 2litre Pura milk was posted on social media showing a buyer had purchased it for $9.20 in April from a store in Kaltukatjara, south west of Alice Springs.
A receipt (pictured) shows a shopper had to fork out $9.20 at a Northern Territory remote community for a 2litre milk bottle
The same daily staple brand goes for about $3 in big brand stores in major cities in Australia
The dairy staple is on offer for $3.10 at grocery stores in major cities.
A 2021 Northern Territory food summit report by the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance found isolated communities had to fork out 56 per cent more for food compared with those who lives in cities.
Donna Donzow from EON foundation, which helps Indigenous communities get good quality produce, told 7NEWS.com.au the prices can be unusually high.
‘The cost of a mixed salad pack was $17,’ Ms Donzow said after she visited Minyerri, a town south-east of Katherine in the Northern Territory.
A mixed salad pack (pictured, a variety from a Woolworths store) sold for $17 at a remote place near Katherine in the Northern Territory in June
It highlights the cost-of-living battle faced by some regional communities, where a social media image showed a coffee tin selling for $84.09 in a 2020 post.
The 1kg Nescafe-coffee product was snapped at a remote supermarket in far Northern Queensland.
EON Foundation executive chair Caroline de Mori said there was a lack of cheap and fresh food at grocery stores in isolated areas.
‘You end up paying $12 for one brown-headed broccoli,’ Ms de Mori said. ‘By the time it all gets [to remote towns] it’s mouldy and not fresh, so it’s not necessarily an option.
A 1kg coffee tin was available in a remote town in Queensland for a whopping $84.09, according to this 2020 post (pictured)
‘This means we see astronomically higher disease rates and health issues in these communities, and it’s only getting worse.’
Ms de Mori added people have been turning to processed food because it’s a cheaper option.
Transport subsidies and rules for shop owners operating monopolies in some towns have been suggested as solutions for locals living in these areas.
The pricey items follow other social media posts about rising grocery prices, including one by a Brisbane shopper who spotted a cabbage being sold for $17.99 per head.
Recent flooding on the east coast of Australia damaging crops, coupled with rising fuel costs triggered by Russia’s bloody Ukraine war have sent Australia’s cost of living soaring – and green vegetables are among the hardest hit.
Weekly staples that have risen in price the most in the last year were named in data included with last week’s announcement that inflation is at its highest level in two decades.
Vegetables, fruit, breakfast cereals, bread, eggs, oils, butter and margarines have all jumped sharply in price in the last year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The ABS released its quarterly (CPI) figures – the key measure of inflation – last week, showing a 6.1 per cent jump over the last year.
The town where the milk was purchased (pictured, Kaltukatjara, south west of Alice Springs) is one of the remote communities where grocery prices have skyrocketed
A confronting graph has illustrated the alarming rise in the cost of basic groceries, with vegetables, cereal and other household staples at the top of the list of steep price rises