Earlier this year, the QLD Government announced that it would introduce new laws requiring fuel retailers to report fuel prices in real time.

Aware of the difficulties experienced with the operation of similar schemes in NSW and QLD, the Queensland Government assembled a working group comprising industry representatives, the RACQ and Government officials to consider how such a scheme could be put in place without experiencing the same problems as the Northern Territory and NSW.

The Working Group delivered a report back to the Government at the end of June 2018, suggesting that the likely best approach was for the government to appoint a suitably qualified business to collect real-time price information on behalf of the government and then make it available to existing (and potentially new) providers of price information to the public via mobile phone apps and websites.

“The Queensland approach was favoured by ACAPMA because it minimises the compliance burden for fuel retailers by providing a choice of reporting methods and utilises existing mechanisms for conveying price information to consumers”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.

In late July, the Queensland Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy – the Hon. David Lyneham – announced that the Government planned to advance the model recommended by the Working Group, with a view to fuel price information being available to Queensland Motorists from December 2018.

In order to achieve this deadline, the Queensland Government had to complete two actions.

First, the Government had to prepare a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) to assess the likely impacts and benefits of the proposed laws before preparing formal regulations for ratification by the Government.

Second, the Government had to conduct a tender process to select a suitably qualified business to act as the “aggregator’ of fuel price information.

Essentially, this business is required to receive reports of fuel price information from all Queensland fuel retailers, validate the information for errors and then make the information available on an aggregate basis to providers of fuel price information (e.g. Gas Buddy, FuelTrac, RACQ, petrol spy, Motor Mouth)

Importantly, the aggregator had to have both a good understanding of how fuel price information works as well as the ability to aggregate the information within strict privacy and commercial safeguards.

“Yesterday, Minister Lyneham announced that Informed Sources had been appointed as the aggregator and this effectively marks the end of the second major milestone for delivery of fuel price information to Queensland motorists from December 2018”, said Mark

Details of Minister Lyneham’s announcement can be found at http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2018/10/11/techs-on-deck-to-drive-fuel-price-trial

Given Informed Sources already has a commercial reporting role and operates the Motormouth app for motorists, there have been some early understandable questions about how the commercial role of Informed Sources is to be managed relative to this new Government reporting role.

“Our understanding is that the Government contract has require Informed Sources to strictly ring-fence this new public reporting role from its’ commercial services and we believe that appropriate safeguards have been put in place”, said Mark

“Importantly, this means that the information service is being operated by a business that has a strong understanding of how our industry works as well as possessing practical experience with the challenges of making fuel price information available to the public in a timely way”, added Mark

“The final, and most important task remaining from our perspective, is for the Government to now work with the industry to (a) clearly communicate the process for fuel retailers to report fuel price changes, and (b) ensure that the process minimises the compliance burden for all Queensland retail businesses”, said Mark

This is an area that will be a key focus for ACAPMA’s advocacy activity in Queensland during the 8 weeks leading up to the introduction of the compulsory fuel price reporting laws in early December 2018.

Further information about the compulsory fuel price reporting laws can be obtained by contacting the ACAPMA Secretariat on 1300 160 270 or by emailing communications@acapma.com.au