Daryl Passmore, 02 March 2016

THE Palaszczuk Government is demanding the national consumer watchdog be given extra resources to probe petrol price rip-offs in Queensland.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission told a government-ordered fuel price roundtable in Brisbane today that Queensland drivers consistently pay more at the bowser than those in other states.

But the ACCC says it does not currently have the resources to mount an in-depth investigation similar to one that drove down prices in Darwin.

Queensland Main Roads and Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the Federal Government must make the money available.

“It does make my blood boil that the ACCC isn’t being resourced to do their job in Queensland,’’ he said. “Queensland deserves a fair go.

“Its not good enough for them to have the resources to do their job in other states but not here in Queensland.’’

The ACCC, which is currently examining the fuel markets in Launceston, Tasmania and Armidale in NSW, said the locations for the next round of regional investigations had not yet been decided.

“The ACCC is aware of the level of community concern about high petrol prices in Brisbane and in locations in regional Queensland.’’

Today’s summit brought together key industry players and consumer groups to examine why Queensland motorists face higher prices.

RACQ executive general manager advocacy Paul Turner said the discussion was “at times robust’’ but the time for talking was now over.

“We think it’s now time for action,” he said. “Motorists are suffering, have suffered for many years from high prices in Queensland — higher in Brisbane than Melbourne and Sydney and higher in places like Cairns than many other parts of the country.

“We want to see that fixed,’’ Mr Turner said.

The motoring group used the summit to push for new regulations on petrol price advertising at service stations to stop what it calls ‘’deceptive discount signage’’.

“At times motorists only realise once they fill up that they need to buy a bottle of Coke and three Mars bars in order to get the reduced price,’’ Mr Turner said.

Under the proposed changes — already introduced in New South Wales and South Australia — servos would be banned from promoting discount prices but clearly list the “real” prices of regular and premium unleaded, e10, diesel and LGP fuel.

Mr Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government would look at price boards. But he cautioned: “We’ve got to be careful that we do not pass on onerous costs to service stations and create the opposite of what we want — and actually drive prices up.’’

Extracted in full from the Courier Mail.

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