Charlie Peel, 25 February 2016

A SURGE in new service stations being built around Townsville, a decade after they were being removed from the CBD, is set to increase competition and drive down fuel prices.

Two service stations are being built in Townsville’s CBD and a third was granted Townsville City Council approval this week. The council backed a proposal to build a service station, fast-food outlet and shop on a vacant site on Bayswater Rd at Mount Louisa.

Planning and Development Committee chairman Cr Tony Parsons said the extra competition would help lower fuel prices.

“We were at a period about a decade ago where they were ripping up the tanks out of the ground and there’s some locations where they are going back in,” he said.

“We’ve seen the push by the RACQ … to give us as fair a deal as they do in the southeast corner. We’re screaming out for a bit of competition and a fair go.”

Economist Colin Dwyer said high petrol prices, healthier margins, narrower competition and 20,000 more cars on the road were factors in the revival.

“The fundamental reason these new petrol stations have come in to Townsville is viability and profit,” he said.

“There has been a gap in our uncompetitive market and new entrants are filling it.

“But we need more competition and continued scrutiny of the local petrol market to maintain pressure for fairer pricing.”

Cr Parsons said the return of service stations to the city was a result of increased competition in the petrol industry.

“For years we saw a trend where service stations were being ripped up and any new facilities were part of the major shopping chains, but that is changing,” he said.

“A new facility is under way in the CBD, another on the site of the old Midtown Hotel and now this proposal on Bayswater Rd.”

Cr Parsons said other service stations in the city were also being upgraded.

He said the nature of the businesses had also changed over the past decade, with new ventures incorporating fast-food outlets and convenience stores.

The Bayswater Rd site is next to an existing neighbourhood shopping complex.

Extracted in full from the Townsville Bulletin.