14 December 2015

NSW motorists are currently enjoying a remarkable period of reduced petrol prices. This has been caused by numerous global factors, but the bottom line is that a visit to the bank manager is no longer required prior to filling up at the local petrol station.

Not content with this happy situation, NSW Better Regulation Minister Victor Dominello now proposes to force all service stations throughout the state to install ethanol pumps — a move that could quickly increase the price of petrol by around eight cents per litre.

The extra cost would be due to the massive expense of installing new pumps, plus all of the associated hardware and equipment, including tanks.

Industry estimates put that expense at around $900,000 for many petrol outlets.

“Our industry has been thrown under the bus,” Australasian Convenience & Petroleum Marketers Association CEO Mark McKenzie told The Daily Telegraph.

“Owners will have to decide ­whether to close or pass on the cost to motorists.

“There has been no formal consultation at all, and the relationship has broken down with the government.

“This is an industry that nationally employs 55,000 people and generates $75 billion. NSW is 34 per cent of that market.”

As usual when public disadvantage is involved, politics is the root cause. The retail compliance plan to install statewide ethanol pumps is supported by the National Party and a majority of Liberals because it boosts regional jobs through ethanol manufacturing and distribution.

Regional jobs mean happy National Party seats — but this would come at an eight-cent per litre cost for every NSW motorist.

It would be a direct subsidy for rural and regional areas, but it would also ­severely hit both the fuel industry and industries that rely on inexpensive ­petrol.

The government is all set to ­approve the new plan. The government should think twice.

Extracted in full from the Daily Telegraph.

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