Report looks into regional fuel price disparity


Recently the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released the first of its quarterly reports into petrol prices - a task assigned to them by Minister for Small Business the Hon Bruce Billson.

He assigned this task to them to work out why prices are dropping in some areas across Australia and not others – particularly the price drop in metro areas compared to regional locations.

The ACCC monitors fuel prices in all capital cities and around 180 regional locations across Australia.

The report covers the period from June to December 2014 with some additional information to the end of January 2015.

The report found that while on average over the past seven months petrol prices in our five largest cities dropped significantly, consumers in rural and regional areas are not saving nearly as much at the bowser.

Petrol prices in the five largest cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth) decreased by 28.1 cents per litre from 151.9 cents per litre in June 2014 to 123.8 cents per litre in December 2014.

Minister Billson also announced that Darwin will be the first regional location studied under these new petrol monitoring arrangements.

Without question, petrol prices in Darwin are amongst the highest in the whole of Australia but I truly believe there is a case for Kalgoorlie to be one of the next locations for investigation.

While I acknowledge that the price of fuel in Kalgoorlie has dropped, I can’t help but wonder why the difference between Kalgoorlie fuel prices and Australia’s five largest cities has grown – in my mind incredibly.

In July 2014, the price differential between fuel in Kalgoorlie and the five largest cities was 3.1 cents per litre. In December 2014 the average differential blew out to 25.5 cents per litre – in January 2015, 28.8 cents per litre.

Why in seven months has the difference between Kalgoorlie’s fuel price and the five largest cities’ increased by 25.7 cents per litre?

I have listened to concerns from constituents in Kalgoorlie and from these figures I see that their concerns are significant and legitimate.

The government is working with the ACCC to ensure communities can enjoy healthy markets that function to the benefit of motorists, and in turn to the benefits of the local economy.

This is the first in a number of announcements the ACCC will be making this year in relation to this type of fuel monitoring and the ACCC is looking at where the next two regional locations will be.

I will continue to speak with Minister Billson and have written to him putting forward areas in O’Connor for investigation. These areas include Kalgoorlie.

If any community member believes that they have an area that should be considered, I urge you to contact my office.

I also urge everyone to continue to raise concerns and provide information to the ACCC so they can monitor this issue closely and ensure any disparity between regional and metro fuel prices is rectified.

Rick Wilson MP
Federal Member for O’Connor

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