FEDERAL Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch says he was surprised to learn that Cairns fuel prices are considered to fall within the average for regional Queensland.
His comments come after reviewing the latest Report on the Australian petroleum market by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
“Many Cairns residents talk to me about the high cost of fuel here in Far North Queensland, and complain that we are paying significantly more than those in the south,” said Mr Entsch.
“This has led me to write to the ACCC and the relevant minister on several occasions to raise the issue with them and request a deep-dive investigation into the Cairns fuel market.”
He said the ACCC has been monitoring fuel prices across all of Australia, and has now published three reports into the country’s petroleum industry.
“The two most recent – looking at the March and June quarters of 2015 – have shown that Cairns is paying, at most, 2.8 cents per litre more than the regional average in Queensland,” said Mr Entsch.
“Even our nearest city, Townsville, was only 1.5 cents cheaper than us in the March quarter (132.9 cents per litre versus 134.4 cents per litre), and 0.2 cents cheaper than us in the June quarter (146.1 cents per litre versus 146.3 cents per litre).”
In the June quarter, the average retail price of petrol in Australia’s five largest cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth – was 135.8 cents per litre. Meanwhile, the highest recorded price in regional Australia was in Dongara, WA, which recorded 152.5 cents per litre.
“Retail petrol prices in the five largest cities tend to move in cycles as a result of individual fuel retailer pricing policies. But this is rarely seen in regional Australia,” said Mr Entsch.
“The ACCC report also found that prices are generally higher in regional locations due to a number of factors including less local competition, lower volumes of fuel sold, distance, and lower convenience store sales.
“It does concern me however when I see that prices at our local retailers rarely differ by more than a cent per litre, therefore I will continue to keep a close eye on fuel prices here in Cairns moving forward.
“I’m also pleased to see that United Petroleum has recently opened their first Far North Queensland site at Koah, west of Cairns – where they had cut the price of diesel to 121.9 cents per litre, and petrol to 132.9 cents per litre.
“I look forward to seeing how this new competition will affect fuel prices for local motorists,” he said, “but this early indication seems to prove it’s already good for the region.”
To view the third Quarterly Report, click here