ACCC ap­proach ‘not enough’: MP and distrib­u­tor O’Dowd

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

SOME re­gional MPs have in­di­cated that the ACCC’s ap­proach will not do enough to curb ram­pant price goug­ing.

Mem­ber for Flynn Ken O’Dowd has dis­trib­uted for more than 20 years. “I can’t see how the ‘pump price’ can fluc­tu­ate by over 20 cents per litre from town to town or ser­vice sta­tion to ser­vice sta­tion,” he said.

“I might also add that the num­ber of in­de­pen­dent ser­vice sta­tions has de­clined over the years and I wouldn’t rec­om­mend any­one go­ing out and buy­ing one with­out closely look­ing at the bal­ance sheet, profit mar­gins, over­heads and bot­tom lines.”

Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture Barn­aby Joyce said high prices were a “se­ri­ous con­cern” in his elec­torate, and said “gov­ern­ment has a role to play” in ar­eas not open to mar­ket forces.

Vic­to­rian MP Sharman Stone said towns in her elec­torate of Mur­ray were be­ing “held cap­tive” by petrol re­tail­ers, and in­creased ACCC pow­ers were the best way to stop the price goug­ing.

She said hefty fines beyond “a few thou­sand dol­lars” should be im­posed on com­pa­nies found to be rip­ping off mo­torists. The ACCC can only pur­sue court-or­dered fines and penal­ties where it can be proved com­pa­nies have col­luded in set­ting the price.

“If a company can’t demon­strate how the ad­di­tional cost has been in­curred, then that company should not be al­lowed to charge a higher mar­gin in a coun­try area com­pared with a met­ro­pol­i­tan area,” Ms Stone said. She said her calls were likely to go un­heeded by col­leagues in city seats, whose “let the mar­ket rip” at­ti­tudes were let­ting her con­stituents down.

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