Price reporting to NSW FuelCheck is compulsory.
All NSW fuel retail business were required to have registered for this system by 14 July 2016 (any business that has not yet registered should immediately contact the NSW FuelCheck team at NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20 or visit http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/About_us/Online_services/FuelCheck.page for more information).
Since 10 am on 19 July 2016, all registered fuel retailers have been legally required to immediately advise any and all changes in fuel prices via the new NSW FuelCheck system.
While the NSW Government originally advised that the motoring public would be able to access fuel prices via this system from 4 August 2016, there have been a series of issues with the achievement of this date.
As a consequence, NSW Fair Trading have recently notified all retailers that the ‘Go Live’ date for NSW Fuel Check has been revised to 22 August 2016.
“We have been alerted to a series of issues where fuel retail businesses have experienced considerable difficulty in uploading data with these problems being a mix between user-related and system-related issues”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.
“We are also aware that, despite previous Ministerial advice to the contrary, that some Fair Trading inspectors have allegedly been quite aggressive with fuel retailers – only to later learn that the problems did not actually lay with the fuel retailing business”, said Mark.
Other businesses have complained about the accuracy of site reference information displayed for their site which, despite apparent submission of numerous requests for correction, remain unaddressed.
“In short, it is a bit of a mess at the moment”, said Mark.
“We are working co-operatively with NSW Fair Trading to make them aware of these issues as they arise”, Mark added.
While the delays to the ‘Go Live’ date have been welcomed by some elements of the industry, others have suggested that the delays are a clear indication that the NSW Government rushed implementation unnecessarily.
“While industry welcomes increased price transparency, the unrealistic timetables adopted by the NSW Government resulted in unnecessary investment of substantial capital to accelerate changes to information systems”, said Mark.
ACAPMA is aware, for instance, that three major retailers alone have spent a combined sum of around $500,000 on accelerated implementation – a cost that that would not have been necessary had the government taken a more measured approach to the timing of implementation.
“Ultimately it is the fuel retail businesses and their customers who foot the bill for these unnecessary costs”, Mark added.
The most worrying aspect of all this is that the NSW Government is preparing to rush through new Regulations relating to the operation of the NSW Biofuels Mandate.
The new Biofuels Regulations have far greater potential to cause substantial economic damage and, if managed in the same slipshod manner will result in genuine small business destruction and job losses.
“If the implementation of NSW FuelCheck is anything to go by, the new Biofuels Regulation is going to be a disaster”, said Mark.
“At this point in time, we are less than 3 weeks out from the foreshadowed commencement date of 1 September 2016 for the new biofuels laws – yet the Regulation not even been finalised by the NSW Government”, said Mark.
“Continuing to push ahead with the 1 September 2016 implementation timeline is quite simply mindless – it demonstrates blatant disregard for an essential industry that directly employs more than 12,000 people and delivers around $0.6B in value to the NSW economy”, said Mark.
“Clearly politics, and the desire to support a major donor, is winning out over common sense and the need to protect an economically significant industry in NSW from value destruction”, said Mark.