Mick Reid

ACT chief minister Andrew Barr on Wednesday met with Australian Consumer and Competition Commission chair Rod Sims to discuss high petrol prices faced by Canberra motorists.

The ACT is continually recording higher petrol prices than other large cities across the country, Barr said.

In February 2016, Canberra motorists saw record petrol price differentials compared with the national average and Sydney, in particular.

These record prices were despite a continued decrease in crude oil prices late last year, which reached their lowest level since June 2004.

While the situation improved a little in the March quarter, the figures reveal a large discrepancy between the cost of crude oil and what motorists are paying for petrol.

Market study

“It is important our fuel retailers are held to account to ensure that Canberrans aren’t paying too much at the pump,” Barr said.

“Canberra motorists in and around Majura Park and Fyshwick have had some petrol price relief with the opening of Costco and Metro Petroleum. Unfortunately, these savings have not yet flowed through to the broader ACT market.”

Barr said he has discussed with Sims ways to increase competition and transparency in the market, and the need for the commission to conduct a market study into petrol prices in the ACT.

“The government will work closely with the ACCC to provide better information to consumers and to collect better data. The ACT will also work with other states – raising these issues at the next head of Treasuries meeting,” Barr added.

“A 2015 investigation into petrol prices in Darwin and market studies in Launceston and Armidale led to downward pressure on petrol prices in the Northern Territory, Tasmania and New South Wales.

“The government will continue to work with the ACCC to ease the strain on the ACT community caused by rising petrol prices.”