Benjamin Shuhyta & Anne Delaney, 11 March 2016

Every fuel retailer in New South Wales could soon be forced to publish its prices in real-time.

The Fair Trading Amendment (Fuel Price Transparency) Bill 2016 will require retailers to inform the Government of their prices, and the date and time from which the prices will be applied.

Fair Trading Minister Victor Dominello said it would bring fuel pricing standards into the digital age.

“The system proposed in this bill will allow for information to be shared within a very short timeframe and will be updated whenever the petrol station’s fuel boards are changed,” Mr Dominello said.

“Everyone I speak to about this says it is a great idea. It is a no-brainer,” Mr Dominello said.

Other states already have existing requirements for publishing fuel price data, such as Western Australia’s Fuel Watch website.

The ACCC has also negotiated with major fuel retailers to update their prices on a smartphone app.

This legislation is a first in Australia, because it will require all fuel retailers, large or small, to update information in real-time.

Motoring groups have welcomed the proposal.

“For too long there’s been a sort of secret formula that they use, and unfortunately we’ve seen very high prices, particularly in regional areas, without much justification,” NRMA director Fiona Simson said.

Ms Simson said she had seen price variations of up to 20 cents a litre, even in the same suburbs or country towns.

“If fuel stations are required to post real-time price information … consumers can have all the power, vote with their feet and their cars, and that will create enormous competition,” she said.

The NRMA expects the bill to pass into law without opposition, given that the major fuel retailers agreed to the idea in December.

Extracted in full from ABC News.