Prime Minister Scott Morrison has slammed Australians hoarding food and supplies describing the practice as “ridiculous” and “un-Australian”.
He raised the issue of panic buying and bulk purchasing during a live national address on coronavirus in Canberra this morning (March 18).
“Stop it. It’s not sensible, it’s not helpful, and I’ve got to say it has been one of the most disappointing things I’ve seen in Australian behaviour in response to this crisis,” Mr Morrison said.
Yesterday, the ABC reported that people from the city were travelling hours to raid regional supermarkets following shortages in Melbourne.
Scott Morrison said panic buying was distracting attention and efforts away from maintaining supply chains into shopping centres.
“There is no reason for people to be hoarding supplies in fear of a lockdown or anything like this,” he said.
Coles and Woolworths are going to lengths to ensure vulnerable members of the community, such as the elderly and disabled, can get supplies by holding a dedicated shopping hour for them in the mornings.
However, families on tight budgets are also being affected with many having to choose between necessities.
One mother of four children from the south-east of Melbourne voiced her concerns on social media saying the situation was very stressful as home brands are the first to sell out.
“I was forced to pay $27 for pull-ups (nappies) and can’t afford any meat now,” she wrote.
Community groups are being set up on social media to share supplies.
In a joint statement, Australian supermarkets Coles, Woolworths, IGA and ALDI called on the public to be considerate in how they shop.
“We understand your concerns, but if you buy only what you need and stick to the product limits, it helps everyone, especially the elderly and people with a disability,” the statement said.
Mr Morrison asked Australians to do the right thing by each other.
“This is not who we are as a people,” he said.
“I am seeking Australia’s common sense and cooperation, with these very clear advisory positions.”