From forking out $25 for toilet paper to a staggering $46 for a tin of Nescafe instant coffee, Australians living in remote communities have taken to social media to protest the prices they're paying for basic items.
The issue first came to light after Queensland woman Sondra Gorringe angrily posted an image of some lamb chops to Facebook on Friday, showing a price tag of $82.27.
"The price on this meat … f--k that," she wrote of the chops, which came in at $38.99 a kilo.
The lamb chops were being sold in Palm Island at a store operated by Community Enterprises Queensland (CEQ), a government body that provides goods and essential services to indigenous communities in Queensland.
CEQ has since said the item was incorrectly labelled by its supplier, Warwick Meats, and taken from the shelves.
Shane Leehy, Warwick Meats Sales Manager, told nine.com.au that the pricing on the label was correct, however it failed to mention it was a "family pack".
"There was 2.1kg of meat in there. If you go into just about any little butcher on Gold Coast you will find it at that price. Supermarkets can do it a bit cheaper because they absorb the costs," Mr Leehy said.
The price of transporting the meat hundreds of kilometres by freight also added up, Mr Leehy added.
"There is a fair bit of a freight component in that price. They left the Gold Coast and went all the way to Palm Island … some items can be in transport for eight days so there is a cost involved."
The local store is often the only place for people to buy groceries in some remote areas, which have largely indigenous populations.
Many say the prices at those stores are crippling.
A Facebook post shared by Jody Wallace, from Wonga in Queensland, shows several photos of products sold in remote community stores along with their price labels.
A 16-roll pack of Sorbent toilet paper was priced at $25, while a tin 500g of instant Nescafe coffee was selling for $46.
Ms Wallace, who grew up in Hope Vale, north of Cooktown, told nine.com.au the prices there were "appalling" but the issue was widespread across all remote communities and helped entrench disadvantage.
"It first became an issue to me when I didn't have a vehicle to travel to the nearest town, or city. I walked up to the local shop to find the toilet paper was almost $26," she said.
Gene Stewart-Murray, who used to work at a local store in the remote NT town of Lajamau, said the prices were often five times what people would normally pay in the main towns.
However, locals had no option but to buy their groceries there, or travel 500km to Katherine, he said.
"I was able order my groceries with Woolworths and pay $50 freight for it to come along with the truck of supplies for the shop but other people didn't have that option," he said.
A photo taken by Mr Stewart-Murray showed a six can carton on soft drink selling for $88.88.
Mr Stewart-Murray has started an online petition calling on the prices of basic goods to be legislated which has so far attracted hundreds of signatures.
Contact reporter Emily McPherson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/grocery-prices-in-remote-australian-towns/b5003949-4892-49f7-a701-42bd1c89848d