State MP claimed that those taking advantage should be named and shamed.
Major retailer Target Australia has been accused of exploiting the shortage of clean water in Queensland by charging $72 for a 24 pack of 600ml bottles of spring water. Recent reports have revealed photographs of the water bottles with the hand written price tag at a Target store in ex-Cyclone Debbie ravaged Bowen, Queensland. The picture was posted to Facebook by Natalie Maher, as she thought that the price tag was an error, although the $72 charge for the bottled water was then confirmed by a worker at Target. This prompted Maher to write on Facebook, “Talk about price gauging us while we are in need. Disgusting mongrels. I had only just left the disaster recovery people with lifeline there who gave me 12 bottles of water to bring home so we have clean drinking water and Target are pulling this stunt. I will refuse to shop at Target from now on – it’s outright disgusting and so wrong to say the least.”
Target Australia then told the Daily Mail Australia on Sunday that the water is usually sold for $3 per 600ml bottle, however, they have recently revised the price. A spokesperson said,
“Due to the water shortage situation at Bowen we have reduced that price to $1 per bottle. We again apologise for any misunderstanding and the team at our Bowen store will continue to support the local community during these difficult times in anyway they can.”
In addition to this, a BP petrol station in the Whitsundays was also accused of taking advantage of the clean water shortage, as a carton of water bottles was being sold for $44 to residents that were suffering the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie. This figure meant that the water had been marked up by $26, as the same product was found online retailing for $18. State MP Jason Costigan has since told nine.com.au that anyone who is caught trying to take advantage of those desperate for water should be “named and shamed”. He said,
“These mongrels should be dobbed in to the Office of Fair Trading. I’ll be raising it with the Attorney-General in due course.”
The urgent need for clean water comes after the council told residents that tap water could be discolored and contain potentially dangerous levels of bacteria. Although water access has now been restored to Bowen, residents have been told that they need to boil tap water before drinking it.
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