Tough times get­ting tougher as petrol prices hit new highs

Central Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - Mackenzie Colahan Mackenzie.Colahan@cnbtimes.com.au

RE­GIONAL Queens­lan­ders are be­ing slugged record break­ing amounts at the bowser as fuel prices soar to more than 160 cents per litre.

The dis­turb­ing trend, la­belled “un­fair” by the RACQ, is crip­pling small busi­nesses in the trans­port sec­tor.

Un­leaded petrol peaked at 165.9cpl in Biloela, amid na­tion­wide calls for the Gov­ern­ment to re­move the ex­cise and taxes which ac­count for more than 30 per cent of the cost of fuel.

Ac­cord­ing to the state’s peak mo­tor­ing body, driv­ers in Emer­ald, Glad­stone, Goondi­windi, Her­vey Bay, Mackay, Mount Isa, Rock­hamp­ton and Townsville are feel­ing the pinch as the cost of fuel reaches all-time highs.

The trans­port in­dus­try has suf­fered the big­gest hit with busi­ness own­ers no longer able to keep in­creas­ing their prices.

Lo­cal oper­a­tor Pe­ter Watts, owner of Biloela Trans­port, said out of con­trol fuel prices were killing the in­dus­try.

“We can’t pass the costs on any more. If we keep putting our prices up we won’t have any cus­tomers left,” Mr Watts said.

“We just have to take the hit and hope it will be over soon.

“I’ve seen some places charg­ing 170cpl for diesel, it’s ridicu­lous.

“Be­ing in a coun­try town we want to help lo­cal busi­nesses so I still pay re­tail prices.

“We’ve got four ser­vos in town and three are owned by the same com­pany – it’s a joke.

“They have to make their mar­gin but they’re screw­ing us a bit as well.

“Fuel has gone up and busi­ness is go­ing down.

“This is usu­ally our busiest time in the lead-up to Christ­mas but it’s the qui­etest I’ve ever seen it in the last 10 years.

“No­body has got any money. Every­one is bat­tling at the mo­ment.”

Ted Hill of Daw­son Val­ley Couri­ers said the 7cpl jump in fuel prices in Biloela over the past week was cost­ing him an ex­tra $50 per ve­hi­cle ev­ery day.

“We’re con­stantly re­cal­cu­lat­ing and rais­ing our freight charges,” Mr Hill said.

“Every­one is com­plain­ing about our prices but we can’t do any­thing about it.

“The cost of fuel has been go­ing up and up all the time.

“It’s com­ing up to Christ­mas now and it has got to stop.”

More re­gional cen­tres are ex­pected to fol­low suit and Queens­lan­ders will see more records smashed over the com­ing days and weeks.

RACQ spokesper­son Lucinda Ross said long­stand­ing records were tum­bling and she urged re­gional mo­torists to let their wal­lets do the talk­ing.

“While the ris­ing global oil price and soft­en­ing Aussie dol­lar is largely to blame for th­ese prices, some ser­vos are charg­ing above what we think is fair,” Ms Ross said.

“It might not seem like much of a sav­ing but choos­ing the cheaper re­tail­ers will send a strong mes­sage to the oth­ers to com­pete for your busi­ness and can save your house­hold hun­dreds of dol­lars over the year.”


RIP OFF: Mo­torists are tak­ing a ma­jor hit to the hip pocket as fuel price records tum­ble in re­gional Queens­land.

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