LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch has welcomed news that the cost of fuel in regional areas will come under the spotlight of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Small Business Minister Bruce Billson MP announced today that the ACCC has been issued with new instructions to monitor the prices, costs and profits relating to the supply of unleaded petroleum products in the petroleum industry in Australia for the next three years.
“This is very good news,” Mr Entsch said today. “Through giving the ACCC greater powers, there’ll be a higher degree of transparency in fuel pricing.”
Mr Entsch said he regularly receives correspondence from people questioning the difference in prices between southern centres and the Far North, and it is a regular complaint in local media.
“I’ve tried on several occasions to get to the core of the issue,” he commented. “These new powers will allow the ACCC to dig that little bit deeper and assist us in understanding and hopefully addressing the considerable disparity in prices between places like Townsville and Cairns, and other similar regions.”
Mr Entsch said the quarterly reports will mean that consumers will know what they should be paying and can shop around, and the activities of retailers who are gouging will be exposed.
In addition, the ACCC has been given the power to ‘deep dive’ into specific markets or aspects of the fuel industry, especially where there are ‘perceived irregularities in the fuel market or market dysfunction with potential detriment to motorists’.
“There’s no doubt that Far North Queensland falls into this category and I’ll be writing to Bruce Billson asking him to take a closer look at the activities of retailers in our region,” Mr Entsch said.