Moves fuel price gap

Con­tro­versy at lack of real-time sys­tem

The Cairns Post - - NEWS - AN­DREW GRE­GORY an­drew.gre­gory@news.com.au

THE bat­tle over petrol prices in­ten­si­fied yes­ter­day when the RACQ ac­cused some Cairns petrol sta­tions of “rip­ping off mo­torists” by hik­ing prices nine cents to al­most 150 cents per litre.

The state gov­ern­ment said it was “work­ing on pos­si­ble so­lu­tions” to tackle the pres­sure on Queens­land driv­ers, but re­buffed de­mands for laws forc­ing re­tail­ers to re­veal prices.

En­ergy Min­is­ter An­thony Lyn­ham blamed price hikes on a lack of com­pe­ti­tion.

“We know that fuel price goug­ing by re­tail­ers re­mains an is­sue for Queens­land mo­torists, and all stake­hold­ers know it’s a lack of com­pe­ti­tion that is driv­ing higher prices, “he said. “The Palaszczuk gov­ern­ment is work­ing with the RACQ, in­de­pen­dent and ma­jor re­tail­ers on pos­si­ble so­lu­tions.”

Mr Lyn­ham poured cold wa­ter on RACQ and op­po­si­tion de­mands for a scheme forc­ing re­tail­ers to re­veal their prices on­line, sug­gest­ing it could ac­tu­ally in­crease costs.

“A manda­tory real-time mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem has been sug­gested,” Mr Lyn­ham said.

“We need to be sure that it wouldn’t add any red tape that would in­ad­ver­tently add ex­tra cost to the price of petrol.”

RACQ spokesper­son Re­nee Smith claimed Cal­tex, Coles, Wool­worths and Puma were sell­ing un­leaded fuel for around 149.9cpl, with a re­tail mar­gin of 18cpl.

“Just last week we were prais­ing Cairns for hav­ing cheap fuel, but sadly there’s been a back­flip at the bowser.”

LNP trans­port spokesman Steve Min­nikin said the Palaszczuk gov­ern­ment needed to “get with the pro­gram”.

Speak­ing in Cairns yes­ter­day, Mr Min­nikin said a re­al­time price mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem would re­duce price spikes by com­pelling fuel re­tail­ers to re­veal their pump prices on­line.

Ma­reeba mo­torist John Barnes said there was of­ten a big price gap be­tween Cairns and smaller Far North towns.

“I usu­ally fill up at Emer­ald Creek but it’s $1.47 there today, so I thought I would fill up where the cheap­est fuel is,” Mr Barnes said.

Pic­ture: BRENDAN RADKE

SAVVY SHOP­PER: John Barnes filled up his car and two jerry cans at the United ser­vice sta­tion on Sheri­dan Street af­ter driv­ing down from Ma­reeba.

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