Time for a bet­ter fuel deal

Gov­ern­ment takes high price con­cerns to con­sumer watch­dog

Sunday Tasmanian - - Front Page - ANNE MATHER

RIS­ING pub­lic anger at fuel prices in Ho­bart has prompted the State Gov­ern­ment to ask the na­tion’s con­sumer watch­dog to in­ves­ti­gate.

Re­sources Min­is­ter Sarah Courtney has called the high prices unac­cept­able and wants a probe into why there is a con­sid­er­able gap be­tween the un­leaded whole­sale price and what mo­torists are pay­ing at the bowser.

Ac­cord­ing to fuel-watch plat­form Mo­torMouth, the re­cent av­er­age price for un­leaded in Ho­bart was 159.1c a litre – which is the high­est cap­i­tal city price in the coun­try and 36.5c a litre above the whole­sale price.

THE Tas­ma­nian Gov­ern­ment is tak­ing ac­tion on the is­sue of the state’s petrol prices, which have re­mained high de­spite dra­matic falls in the global whole­sale price of fuel.

Re­sources Min­is­ter Sarah Courtney said yes­ter­day the high prices were unac­cept­able and the Gov­ern­ment would take the mat­ter to the na­tion’s con­sumer watch­dog, the Aus­tralian Com­pe­ti­tion and Con­sumer Com­mis­sion.

“It is to­tally unac­cept­able if Tas­ma­ni­ans are be­ing gouged at the petrol pump by the ma­jor oil com­pa­nies and fuel re­tail­ers,” Ms Courtney said.

“The Gov­ern­ment will be bring­ing this to the ACCC’s at­ten­tion as it is unac­cept­able that re­duc­tions in the whole­sale fuel price are not passed on to lo­cal con­sumers.”

One of the coun­try’s lead­ing econ­o­mists also urged the Tas­ma­nian Gov­ern­ment to ask ques­tions of oil com­pa­nies and petrol re­tail­ers to de­ter­mine why falls in the global fuel price have not flowed through to the state’s bowsers.

Comm­Sec chief econ­o­mist Craig James said the whole­sale price of fuel had been falling for two months, but Ho­bart had not ex­pe­ri­enced the ben­e­fits.

“Prices in Ho­bart are sig­nif­i­cantly higher than other parts of the coun­try, and way ahead of the whole­sale price [122.6c a litre],” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Comm­Sec’s fuel-watch plat­form Mo­torMouth, the av­er­age price for un­leaded in Ho­bart is 159.1c a litre, which is the high­est in the coun­try and 36.5c above the whole­sale price.

Mr James said Tas­ma­nia’s ex­tra dis­tance did war­rant about an ex­tra five cents a litre more than other cap­i­tals, but not the 30-plus cents mo­torists were pay­ing.

He said ques­tions needed to be asked about why Ho­bart is so far ahead of the other cap­i­tals – with Syd­ney’s av­er­age price for un­leaded petrol at 122.8c, Mel­bourne 125c, Ade­laide 121.7c, Perth 137.7c and Bris­bane 130.6c.

RACT gen­eral man­ager Dar­ren Moody slammed the gap be­tween the whole­sale price and re­tail prices in Tas­ma­nia. “It de­fies logic and seems to be driven by a lack of com­pe­ti­tion and profit goug­ing,” he said.

The whole­sale price of fuel is ex­pected to con­tinue to slide, and the RACT fore­casts it could get be­low 120c soon.

Ms Courtney urged Tas­ma­ni­ans to use the GasBuddy App and other price com­par­i­son mech­a­nisms to en­sure they are buy­ing the cheapest fuel, which would help put down­ward pres­sure on prices.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.