MLA wel­comes PM’s fuel watch

South Western Times - - News - Michael Philipps and Shane Wright

Bun­bury MLA Don Punch has wel­comed the Prime Min­is­ter’s call for the com­pe­ti­tion watch­dog to look into high petrol prices in the re­gions, but says Scott Mor­ri­son needs to do more.

On Mon­day Mr Mor­ri­son said it was up to the head of the Aus­tralian Com­pe­ti­tion and Con­sumer Com­mis­sion, Rod Sims, to make sure oil com­pa­nies were do­ing the “right thing” by con­sumers.

“I want some an­swers out of the ACCC,” Mr Mor­ri­son said.

“I mean they are the cop on the beat, they’re the ones we fund to go out there and mon­i­tor why prices are mov­ing up and down and how they’re timed.

“Mr Sims has the pow­ers. He has the re­sources to in­ves­ti­gate them and I ex­pect him to get on and ap­ply the pres­sure.”

Mr Punch yes­ter­day said Mr Mor­ri­son needed to take more pos­i­tive ac­tion than sim­ply ask­ing the ACCC to ask the fuel com­pa­nies to play fair.

“The Prime Min­is­ter is talk­ing about the cur­rent high petrol prices across the coun­try but has missed the point that in­ex­pli­ca­bly high prices and vari­a­tions be­tween towns is some­thing re­gional Aus­tralia has to con­tend with ev­ery­day and the Govern­ment should take re­spon­si­bil­ity for pro­mot­ing fair­ness in re­gional mar­kets,” he said.

“The Fed­eral Govern­ment does have a lever it can pull, for ex­am­ple higher re­gional prices mean coun­try peo­ple pay a greater tax on fuel than city peo­ple and the Prime Min­is­ter should be ad­dress­ing this un­fair­ness.

“One thing the Prime Min­is­ter and I ap­pear to have in com­mon is a be­lief there should be fair­ness in fuel pric­ing, es­pe­cially for re­gions, but un­like him I am not just blam­ing the ACCC, I have ini­ti­ated a pe­ti­tion to call on the Fed­eral Govern­ment to take ac­tion.”

Mr Punch said work­ing peo­ple in Bun­bury were the most re­liant on pri­vate cars to get to work of all em­ploy­ees in the State.

“Our av­er­age house­hold weekly in­comes are $285 be­low the State av­er­age, so the cost of fuel has a huge im­pact in our com­mu­nity,” he said.

“In Greater Bun­bury and other re­gional com­mu­ni­ties with lim­ited pub­lic trans­port peo­ple have no choice but to use their cars and of­ten have to cover long dis­tances so we know higher fuel prices are dis­pro­por­tion­ately im­pact­ing re­gional peo­ple.

“We can­not con­trol global oil prices but we can cre­ate sys­tems that bring about trans­parency and fair­ness in fuel pric­ing, if there is a will by the Fed­eral Govern­ment.

“I do be­lieve we need fair­ness in fuel pric­ing and that is why I ini­ti­ated the pe­ti­tion.”

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