LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch has highlighted Cairns’ fuel woes in Parliament, saying the high prices at the bowser are a “disgrace” with the region suffering from a lack of competition.
Mr Entsch said he had recently heard about Brisbane's call for the ACCC to do a deep-dive investigation into a perceived petrol ‘cartel’ in the western suburbs of the city.
“Given that motorists can drive 10 minutes and save 20c per litre and have an otherwise competitive market, I think this is ridiculous,” Mr Entsch said.
“Resources need to be directed to communities like Cairns where we recently recorded the highest fuel prices on the eastern seaboard.
“According to the RACQ, motorists are paying 130.2c per litre on average for unleaded in September making it the third most expensive place in Queensland to fill up behind Blackall and Cunnamulla.”
Mr Entsch said that through the ACCC investigation currently underway in Cairns, officers have sought submissions from stakeholders and have met with local retailers.
“They have sent out requests for data on petrol prices to retailers at every level in the supply chain leading into Cairns, and analysing this information will take some time.
“I certainly hope that their study will be released sooner rather than later, because it’s amazing how the prices are just locked in right across the CBD area.
“The price of fuel is a disgrace and the fact that there appears to be no competition is having a huge impact on my community.”
While the RACQ claims that retailers should already be dropping prices, Mr Entsch said this was not evident in Cairns.
“The ACCC report is due out in early 2017, and I certainly hope it initiates a process that will see market pressure driving prices down to levels comparable with other regional cities,” he said.
“After the Northern Territory Fuel Summit in October 2014 and the ACCC investigation into the Darwin market in 2015, locals in Darwin saw the decrease in terminal gate prices more than fully passed on to them ? to the point where petrol was actually cheaper in Darwin in June 2015 than the five major cities.”
The report may also expose factors that are specific to Cairns which may warrant further investigation or action by the relevant consumer or government body.
“This is an ongoing issue and one that I’ll continue to monitor,” the MP ended.