A SMALL number of shops in rural communities have been forced to implement a locals-only policy, after reports of out-of-town tourist buying out local supplies.
The problem is not widespread, but there have been claims in rural Victoria of villages being inundated with panic-buying shoppers from larger cities, in towns such as Gisborne, Kyneton, Romsey, Seymour, Woodend and Daylesford.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud labelled the isolated incidents "absolute stupidity at its highest".
"These country towns take longer to restock... Metropolitan supermarkets are getting restocked every 24 hours," Mr Littleproud told 2GB.
"If you are then going to impinge on people in regional or remote, many people who are farmers who only come into town once a week to get their groceries, that is a selfish act that is unAustralian. Now, people just need to have a good hard look at themselves, calm down and use common sense."
Mr Littleproud pointed out Australian produces enough food for 75 million people, with only a population of 25 million.
Riddells Creek Foodworks said it had no other choice but to enforce "very strict conditions" and ask for ID proof that customers live within the local area.
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Leaders of all levels have condemned panic buying.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison disavowed those panic buying, saying "it's ridiculous, it's un-Australian, and it must stop".
"On bulk purchasing of supplies. Stop hoarding. I can't be more blunt about it. Stop it. It is not sensible, it is not helpful and it has been one of the most disappointing things I have seen in Australian behaviour in response to this crisis," he said.
"That is not who we are as a people. It is not necessary. It is not something that people should be doing."
Mr Morrison's comments were echoed by all the state's premiers and various government ministers.
State governments are either in the process of changing, or have already changed, their laws to allow shopping centres to restock 24/7 to help meet demand.
Woolworths has introduced rules that stop customers from buying more than two of any product, while both Woolies and Coles have extended trading to allow for pension and senior-card carrier only shopping.
The story Isolated incidents of rural shops enforcing 'locals only' policy first appeared on Farm Online.