The Nationals WA are calling for greater co-ordination and support for regional supermarkets facing large numbers of shoppers from outside their district ‘raiding’ local supplies.
It comes after a number of reports of supermarket, grocery store and pharmacy shelves being cleaned out of stock by panic buyers in country towns including Brookton, Denmark, Moora, Merredin, Jurien Bay, Shark Bay, Mt Magnet, Bindoon, Pemberton, Manjimup, Nannup and Harvey.
Leader Mia Davies slammed the behaviour of panic buyers travelling to smaller regional communities and cleaning them out of supplies including fresh and non-perishable foods.
“This behaviour is abhorrent and I call for those travelling outside their district with the sole purpose of stocking up and hoarding supplies to stop immediately,” she said.
“People need to understand many communities being targeted have only one or limited retail outlets for essential goods.
“With demand everywhere soaring, some are already having difficulty with continuity of supply for essential goods.
“If this behaviour continues or worsens the State Government will need to seriously consider how they can assist these retail outlets maintain safety and public order.”
Ms Davies said if everyone shopped normally then shopping centres could maintain their supply.
At a briefing for the Leader of The Nationals WA and Leader of the Opposition on Tuesday, the WA Police Commissioner advised that police were aware of the issue.
Ms Davies applauded the actions some retailers and supermarkets were taking to allow vulnerable members of the community access to supplies.
“We need to ensure everyone is safe and has access to the basics,” she said.
Answering a question from The Nationals in Parliament today, the Premier advised the Government was engaging with the freight and logistics supply chain to ensure food and non-perishable goods could continue to be supplied efficiently as retailers struggled to keep up with demand.