Pol­lies ig­nore high cost of air­fare, fuel

SLAM­MIN DAWS

Kalgoorlie Miner - - OPINION - Doug Daws

A cou­ple of is­sues that emerged in the week serve to high­light the dis­par­ity in the way we are treated by just about ev­ery or­gan­i­sa­tion and govern­ment depart­ment.

I re­fer, of course, to the de­bate over petrol prices and the ab­so­lute rip-off air ticket charges.

Good old Wendy Dun­can has again shown her abil­ity to read the mood of the elec­torate and to take up the cud­gels on our be­half when needed.

Her task is made eas­ier be­cause she lives here with us, in her elec­torate, and so she read­ily hears, feels and un­der­stands our pain. We hear no such con­cerns from other par­lia­men­tary rep­re­sen­ta­tives who choose to live out­side their elec­torate de­spite pub­lic pro­fes­sions that they would do so, if elected, dur­ing their elec­tion cam­paigns.

The most no­table of th­ese is none other than the Lib­er­als’ Mark Lewis.

No won­der the Na­tion­als and their Roy­al­ties for Re­gions have res­onated with the re­gional elec­torates.

The great petrol price rip-off is tes­ta­ment to the “hands-off and let’s fo­cus on the South West of WA” at­ti­tude by suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments.

For in­stance, what can we make of the crazy thing called Fuel­Watch out of the WA Depart­ment of Com­merce?

If you look at the web­site you will see all sorts of claims.

Try this one: un­der Fuel­Watch WA fuel con­sumers ben­e­fit from price trans­parency and re­duced price volatil­ity.

Well, trans­parency they de­liver in spades be­cause the ben­e­fits of Fuel­Watch are ab­so­lutely in­vis­i­ble.

As for volatil­ity, they cer­tainly got that right. We get lit­tle change at all de­spite prices in the metropoli­tan area, and the South West, fall­ing dra­mat­i­cally.

Then they say we will ben­e­fit be­cause they make ser­vice sta­tions lock in to­mor­row’s prices to­day. More like they man­aged to lock in yes­ter­day’s prices for to­mor­row, and the day af­ter, and the day af­ter that.

De­spite the in­ter­na­tional oil price plum­met­ing we are still pay­ing petrol prices that have suc­cess­fully made the Middle East oil na­tions filthy rich and all Fuel­Watch can do is mouth mean­ing­less ir­rel­e­vant tripe.

If the Govern­ment se­ri­ously wants to re­duce the cost of run­ning “govern­ment” it should start there and wind up Fuel­Watch im­me­di­ately.

We have pretty much the same prob­lem with flight costs. I know of at least one up­com­ing con­fer­ence in Kal­go­or­lie that will have no one from the near Asian neigh­bours at­tend­ing as a di­rect re­sult of the cost of air travel to and from Kal­go­or­lie.

Rail travel on the good Prospector ser­vice is not an op­tion be­cause of tim­ing.

The un­palat­able truth is that we can travel re­turn from Perth to Sin­ga­pore or Kuala Lumpur, or many other Asian des­ti­na­tions, for less than we can gen­er­ally travel one-way to Perth.

And what should we say of at least one of the air­lines that con­tin­ues to charge a fuel levy, im­posed to counter ex­traor­di­nar­ily high fuel charges a long time ago de­spite the cost of air­craft fuel fall­ing faster than the nickel price on world mar­kets.

It is disin­gen­u­ous for their spokes­woman to sug­gest that we shouldn’t com­plain be­cause “we” can get dis­count air­fares, one-way, if we try. Bug­ger me, it’d be eas­ier to pick the win­ning Lotto num­bers than it is to find an air­fare “cheapie”.

And what do we hear from the gov­ern­ments or agen­cies charged with in­ves­ti­ga­tions and pros­e­cu­tions for un­fair busi­ness prac­tice? The an­swer is noth­ing.

Make no mis­take, we are in a spot of bother, and the only ones that re­ally care are us, and Wendy.

That’s my opin­ion, what do you think?

dc­daws@big­pond.com

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