A women's advocacy group on Thursday Island has received offers of support from across Australia after a social media user called out a local shop for selling cans of baby formula for three times its usual cost.
Ella Archibald-Binge

11 Jan 2018 - 12:12 PM  UPDATED 11 Jan 2018 - 2:31 PM

Latoya Nakata, the manager of the non-profit women's advocacy group Mura Kosker Sorority, returned to work on January 2 to be greeted by a flood of phone calls. 

"There have been a number of phone calls from a number of people throughout Australia asking whether the organisation would be happy to collect and distribute donations," she told NITV News.

"I think families here would welcome that with open arms."

The offers come after an image was posted to Facebook showing local store See Hop selling a 900g tin of baby formula for $85, more than three times its usual selling price of around $25. The post also showed boxes of cereal for almost $10, and a toy baby stroller for $99. 

The issue has caught the attention of Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion, who condemned remote businesses on Tuesday for "ripping off the poorest of the poor". 

"In communities where there is only one option, it is just simply not acceptable to have that sort of level of gouging," he said.

Senator Scullion said freight is partly subsidised in outback Northern Territory shops and he vowed to "act within whatever capacity" he could in the far north Queensland area too.

"They just need to be exposed ... named and shamed," he said.

"It should be a signal to stores, you should not wait for the government to hold you to account."

Latoya Nakata says while there are other stores on Thursday Island with more affordable pricing, the high cost of living is an ongoing concern for many remote communities around Australia. 

"Over the years, community members here have complained about the cost of fresh fruit and veggies and the affordability of that, especially on the more remote islands throughout the Torres Strait," she says. 

To date, Mura Kosker hasn't received any donations. The organisation is happy to accept donations of essential items via their postal address.

With AAP

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