Earlier this year, the Minister for State Growth (The Hon. Matthew Groom) announced that the Tasmanian Government would shortly introduce new laws governing the operation of fuel price boards in the State.

The new laws were one of two measures being pursued to improve fuel price transparency for Tasmanian motorists – with the other measure being a grant of $60,000 to the Royal Automobile Club of Tasmania (RACT) to work in partnership with GasBuddy to develop a free mobile price app for all Tasmanians.

This week, the Tasmanian Government circulated the draft legislation that will be used to enforce the new fuel price board laws – Australian Consumer Law (Tasmania) Code of Practice for Fuel Price Boards 2017.

A preliminary examination of the draft legislation suggests that it is almost entirely modelled on the existing laws in South Australia and Victoria which prohibit the display of discounted fuel prices.“As with South Australia and Victoria, fuel retailers will still be permitted to advertise that they offer discounts on the main price board (i.e. via advertising tiles), but the price shown for all products must be the undiscounted price”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.

“Thankfully, the Tasmanian Government has not elected to adopt the onerous laws that operate in NSW which require the prices of specific fuel prices to be displayed in a prescribed order”, said Mark.

When considered in conjunction with similar laws being considered for introduction in both Queensland and the Northern Territory, it appears that most Australian State/Territory Governments are pursuing a defacto national code of practice for the operation of fuel price boards that prohibits the display of discounted fuel prices.

ACAPMA understands that stakeholder consultation on the new laws will close later this month, with a view to the legislation being finalised over the next few months.

“The date of implementation for the new laws is currently unclear, but ACAPMA will be advocating that the industry be given a minimum of six-months’ notice from the finalisation of the legislation to the point at which it takes practical effect in the market”, said Mark.

ACAPMA is preparing a formal submission to the legislation and encourages any members who have concerns about the proposed legislation to contact the ACAPMA Secretariat on 1300 160 270 or email markm@acapma.com.au before COB on Thursday, 18 May 2017.