THE State Government has rejected a Labor proposal for greater transparency on petrol prices after an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission investigation.
The Mercury revealed yesterday the ACCC report claimed Tasmanian motorists had been paying 12c/L more than interstate capitals for petrol over the past five years.
It said greater competition combined with more transparency about prices would help motorists find cheaper fuel and reward discounters – which would encourage them to further discount.
Labor leader Bryan Green said his party would appoint a fuel price oversight officer and force petrol stations to display undiscounted petrol prices.
Treasurer Peter Gutwein says Labor’s plan will impose more red tape and cost $100,000 of taxpayer money.
Mr Gutwein said fuel price website Motormouth already displayed real time prices.
But RACT general manager member assist Darren Moody said Motormouth only displayed about half the sites in Tasmania.
Mr Moody said RACT would like to see greater transparency via an app or website but stopped short of endorsing Labor’s fuel price oversight officer without more detail.
“If there is price transparency and people know how much they are going to pay and where, they will chase the cheaper prices,” he said.
“In NSW, the government has legislated that petrol stations need to publish their prices real time and we’re saying is, ‘why don’t we do that in Tasmania?’ ”
Mr Moody said petrol stations should display the maximum price a motorist would pay rather than the price that resulted from a supermarket docket or other discount.
An arrangement between RACT and United for a six cent a litre discount, which ACCC credited with bringing down prices in Tasmania, is set to continue.
The Tasmanian Automobile Chamber of Commerce executive officer Malcolm Little said independent operators felt vindicated there was no suggestion there had been any inappropriate behaviour.
“These are low-volume, higher-cost operations and are not in the position to be market drivers,” Mr Little said.
Launceston Chamber of Commerce chief executive Jan Davis said the ACCC report had shown that the real reason for high petrol prices in Tasmania was excessive retail margins.
Extracted in full from Perth Now.