According to FN Arena yesterday food prices rose by 1.7% in March, which was the biggest monthly rise in almost five years.
With the slowdown in consumer spending barely holding inflation in check and with that election promise millstone, tax cuts, just a few months away and likely to keep the inflation genie from ever getting back in the bottle this year; NSW North Coast fixed-income retirees and pensioners are beginning to worry that the second half of 2008 will see food poverty established in many households.
Memories of the Great Depression are still strong amongst the older folk and some are asking what went so wrong that a prosperous country like Australia should have again developed such a divide between the haves and havenots over the last 12 years.
Stories are also being told of less than a dozen ordinary unprocessed food items costing more than $50 at local supermarkets, and weekly shopping bills being 40-50% higher than three years ago.
Fifty dollars is around one-fifth of the total weekly income of many living in the Northern Rivers region.