Daryl Passmore, 05 March 2016
QUEENSLAND’S bowser-busting minister Mark Bailey has not owned a car for nearly a decade.
And he hasn’t had to pay to fill up his fuel tank for more than a year.
The Main Roads and Energy Minister is demanding justice for motorists slugged by higher petrol prices than those in other states.
But he admits he has not owned a car since 2007. When he is not being chauffeured around, or driving himself in a taxpayer-funded ministerial fleet vehicle with a fuel card, Mr Bailey uses public transport.
The last time he shared the hip-pocket pain of local motorists was before the January 2015 state election.
But he insists that is no obstacle to understanding the impact on ordinary Queenslanders being ripped off at the service station.
“From mid-2014 through to the 2015 election the minister was loaned a car from ALP State Office that he kept fuelled. So he was paying for petrol at a time when Brisbane motorists were facing some of the highest prices on record,” a spokesman said.
Mr Bailey this week hosted a government-ordered roundtable of industry and consumer representatives to examine why Brisbane drivers have been paying 3¢ a litre more than Sydney and Melbourne motorists for years, and Cairns drivers up to 20¢ too much.
But in a move that infuriated motorists, fuel prices jumped around 20¢/litre just days later.
Prices had dipped to a 10-year low below $1 a litre over the past week, but more than two-thirds of Brisbane’s service stations hit 123.9¢ a litre yesterday.
Mr Bailey demanded the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission be given extra federal resources to launch a formal inquiry into the high costs in Queensland.
He also promised the State Government would look at regulations on price boards to stop service stations advertising what the RACQ labelled “deceptive discounts’’ .
RACQ spokeswoman Renee Smith said several petrol stations had been selling below wholesale prices before Wednesday’s fuel price roundtable.
“We did fear that once that focus from the summit was taken away that the low prices would go away,” she said.
Geoff Trotter, general manager of price monitor FUELtrac, slammed the “fake fuel cycle”.
“What it looks like is that once the date for the fuel summit was set, the oil companies adopted a strategy of strong competition fiercely driving the price down but after the summit, the oil companies realised they had nothing to worry about so after two days, it was back to normal prices,” he said.
The cheapest average petrol rate in Brisbane on Tuesday — the day before the summit — was 96.6¢ while on the Gold Coast it was a low of 95¢.
Extracted in full from the Courier Mail.