UPDATE 5:00pm: Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson hopes to sit down with fuel companies before Christmas, if he can, to discuss pricing.
“It’s us as a district saying, when we compare ourselves with other areas we don’t want to be gouged,” Cr Williamson said.
Readers shared similar sentiments about the cost of fuel.
“The whole community has and still is being held to ransom by these ongoing practices,” Les Ware said on Facebook.
Scott Harris said he thought it could be price fixing, and provided the example of Mobil at Slade Point selling petrol around seven cents a litre less than others in the region for the past six months.
Not everyone was convinced, however, as Mark Johnson said: “I’ll save the council the time. There will be no evidence of collusion between petrol companies or suppliers, it is just localised market forces.”
UPDATE 4:00pm: RACQ spokesperson Lauren Ritchie said, at an average of 124c a litre, Mackay motorists were paying too much for their fuel.
The current “fair” price for the area was 118.6c a litre, she said.
While there was some variety between the 25 retailers in the region, Ms Ritchie said generally prices were higher than they should be and the RACQ was working with Mackay Regional Council on the issue.
“As the peak motoring body in Queensland, we would be happy to approach the fuel companies with the Mackay Regional Council to address the issue of fair petrol prices,” Ms Ritchie said.
However, RACQ listed Cairns as one of their highest concerns as it has some of the highest petrol prices in Queensland, and has an ongoing ACCC investigation.
As part of its petrol monitoring arrangements, introduced by the Australian Government in December 2014, the ACCC monitors fuel prices in all capital cities, plus 190 regional locations.
Each year three regional locations are selected for in-depth studies of the petrol supply chain.
They recently completed their investigation into prices in Armidale and while they concluded there was no collusion between fuel companies, they attributed the consistent high prices to a lack of competition.
Fuel retailers have been contacted for comment.
INITIAL: THERE is “no good reason” why Mackay motorists are some times paying up to 15c more for a litre of fuel at the bowser.
Mayor Greg Williamson reported on the “wild fluctuations” and “almost daily” variances in the price Mackay residents pay for fuel compared to other regional centres, such as Moranbah, at Mackay Regional Council’s ordinary meeting on Wednesday.
Public concern over high prices prompted the Mayor to launch the investigation.
Cr Williamson said the council had been monitoring fuel prices across the region for about seven weeks, and at times the price difference had been up to 15 cents a litre more in Mackay, with “no good reason about the patterns”.
He said the RACQ was now on board to help with the ongoing investigation and, if no progress was made, the council would consider approaching the ACCC.
Cr Williamson said there could be a range of reasons why fuel prices were consistently higher in Mackay, but he wanted to make sure there was no collusion between large fuel providers.
He said he didn’t blame service station operators or franchisees as they didn’t set the fuel price, but he wanted to ensure people in Mackay weren’t being “gouged”.
A similar case was investigated in Armidale in 2015, following concerns about high petrol prices.
The ACCC found no evidence of collusion during its investigation there.
Extracted from Daily Mercury