Tuesday, January 10, 2017

$1.45 at the pump: MP slams price watchdog

Brian Mitchell MHR
LAST weekend's petrol price jump in New Norfolk and elsewhere had shown that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission was a toothless tiger unable to stop price gouging, Labor Lyons MHR Brian Mitchell said.

Mr Mitchell demanded that the ACCC "do its job on petrol prices and protect Tasmanians from being ripped off." He said the price of unleaded fuel had gone up from $1.25 to $1.45 in one hit at a New Norfolk petrol station at the weekend. "Is it just me, or is that timing lining up quite nicely with commuters heading back to work?"

"My Facebook went off like a frog on a hot rock ... when I raised this issue. The wild variation in prices is just unbelievable," Mr Mitchell said. "According to motormouth.com.au prices in Tasmania have hovered around $1.20 to $1.30 a litre for months. But over the same period in Adelaide and Sydney they dropped as low as  $1.06 and $1.08.

"What the hell is going on and where is the ACCC? It's already admitted that petrol profits are going up so what is it doing about it. We don't want more 'please explain' letters and sham inquiries, we want real action from the ACCC."

Mr Mitchell said Australian fuel pricing was determined by the Singapore Asia Pacific market price and regionally adjusted by the major fuel companies. "Local petrol stations report in to their head office, which reports in to a central pricing branch, which monitors and sets pricing daily. The system is highly organised - there is no reason for the wild variations.

"Every day the ACCC can see what the regional price is and compare that with bowser prices and determine whether it's a fair margin. It should not have to be dragged kicking and screaming to do its job. Tasmanians are sick of paying more than they should for their fuel. If the ACCC is unwilling or unable to do its job, maybe it's time to give the job to a body that will actually protect consumers."

As of this afternoon the price of unleaded fuel in New Norfolk was as follows:

  • United, Burnett St: 145.7 cents per litre
  • Woolworths, High St: 145.9 cpl
  • Shell, Hamilton Rd: 145.9 cpl
  • Caltex, Montagu st: closed for renovations

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