HOME Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has vowed to go after people conducting co-ordinated buying raids on regional supermarkets following a number of reports of them arriving in busloads from Sydney.
Mr Dutton told Ray Hadley's syndicated radio show during the week that he believed teams of shoppers were "profiteering" from the coronavirus pandemic, stripping supermarket shelves for their own benefit.
Bathurst, Mudgee and Orange are among the regional centres named in social media posts as being among the areas targeted by city shoppers.
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"They're hoarding, not for their own consumption," Mr Dutton said on air.
"I think they're either sending some of the products overseas or they're selling it in a black market arrangement in Australia.
"I'm going to come after those people. It won't be a pretty experience when we deal with them.
"We will come down like a ton of bricks on those individuals because I think they're the ones that have created this pattern of behaviour of hoarding and clearing out shelves."
People are going a bit overboard but if we all stick together and we're sensible we will get through this.Bathurst mayor Bobby Bourke
The Western Advocate has received unconfirmed reports of buses of shoppers descending of local stores while television personality Grant Denyer also took to social media this week to slam the practice.
"This is crazy. We live in Bathurst NSW and we had 2 bus loads of people from Sydney storm the town and raid our 3 supermarkets. Which were already depleted," Denyer posted on his Facebook page. "They also hit Orange and Lithgow.
"Geez guys, chill. If we're patient, there's plenty for everyone.
"We have enough food supplies in Australia. You don't need to buy for 2 years, just a couple of weeks. Let's get through this together, with patience, kindness and resilience."
Mayor Bobby Bourke said he could not say for sure if the practice was happening in Bathurst but, if it was, it was "unAustralian".
"I've seen a couple of comments but the idea that people might be doing this to the bush after we've suffered through bushfires and drought is just unAustralian," Cr Bourke said.
"But there are some idiots out there who would do that. People are going a bit overboard but if we all stick together and we're sensible we will get through this."
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