WHY WE NEED TO SUPPORT OUR ISLAND BUSINESSES
There are some people on our island who can’t quite understand why there is sometimes a price differential on our islands, compared to the mainland.
They are quite happy to come and live on our beautiful islands and accept the land and homes that sell for way under half price of what you can buy on the mainland; but some also expect they should be able to obtain goods and chattel at mainland prices.
Recently, one of our readers went to the trouble of comparing prices in a number of areas, using companies like Woolworths, Coles and Aldi for comparison.
We believe these comparisons re pricing between the islands and these big companies are extremely unfair.
Woolworths, along with Coles and Aldi, has the largest buying power in the land.
Island businesses are clearly not in the same league.
Whilst they were keen to point out the price differences, they did not take into consideration the ‘other reasons’ why many people chose to come and live on our group of islands; i.e the prices of land and homes.
Because we live on a cluster of islands, freight is a major factor in getting goods to our islands.
The cost to bring large delivery trucks to our islands can be several hundred dollars per truck, depending on the size of the vehicle. And, there are several of these deliveries each week, all paid for by island business.
We decided to do a comparison on some prices, and discovered that the very highest in island prices were used by our friends, and along with the very lowest of special prices as comparison from the big stores.
No mention was made of the weekly specials that are on offer from many local businesses.
When we did this exercise, some of the items they mentioned were selling as specials on the islands for very competitive prices indeed.
Fuel pricing was also mentioned.
Fuel on the islands sells for around the $1.70 mark almost on a regular basis.
The comparisons given were when fuel on the mainland was at a $1.25; which it has not been for some time (and will unlikely to be ever again).
More recently it has been around $1.50 or more on the mainland, with it now only dropping to around $1.45 - a far cry from the days of $1.25 a litre.
We made mention to our complainants that: “In your figures you picked the worst and best prices to make your comparisons. The worst for the islands and the best for supermarket giants. That is not fair.”
The other factor that needs to be considered is that island businesses employ many islanders. One supermarket group on the islands employs more than 50 people.
That money gets to stay on our islands and is a valuable contribution to our island community.
Woolworths employs hardly anyone from our islands.
We believe the criticisms of island pricing are prejudicial and unfair.
Some are happy to take the ‘discounts’ that come with owning a home on the islands in one hand; but are not prepared to support island businesses who contribute to our community in the other.
Island businesses provide convenience and good friendly island service.
They deserve to be supported.