On Sunday 26 February 2017, the Queensland Government formally commenced consultation on a proposal to introduce new laws governing the operation of fuel price boards across the State.

In making the announcement, the Queensland Energy Minister (the Hon. Mark Bailey MP) announced that the proposed laws would seek to ban the display of discounted prices on fuel price boards.

“Under our proposed reforms, fuel retailers will still be able to offer and promote discount fuel price schemes, just as long as the full prices available to all motorists are displayed”, Minister Bailey said.

The main elements of the proposed laws include:

  • a ban on the display of conditionally discounted prices on fuel price boards, such as those that require a discount voucher or an in-store purchase; and
  • the coordination of prices changes so motorists never pay more at the pump than the price advertised on the board.

Mr Bailey said the Government was committed to regulatory reform of fuel price boards following the Fuel Price Summit in 2016 and support for the change expressed by key stakeholders such as the RACQ.

“Consensus at the summit was that the regulatory model in place in South Australia and Victoria is the preferred approach”, Minister Bailey said.

The intent of the Government is to have finalised the new laws by the end of June 2017 with a view to the new laws formally taking effect from 1 January 2018. This timing will provide affected fuel retailers with six months to make any necessary changes to existing arrangements.

ACAPMA has conducted a preliminary review of the new legislation and will make a formal submission to the consultation prior to the closing date of Monday, 29 May 2017.

“No-one likes new laws that bring increased costs, but it is good to see that the Queensland Government has adopted a balanced approach that seeks to minimise costs to industry while also satisfying the goal of peak consumer groups to remove the risk of consumer confusion”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.

“These new laws appear to be wholly aligned with the laws that operate in South Australia and Victoria – as opposed to the onerous laws that operate in NSW” – and this is a very welcome aspect of the proposed legislation”, said Mark.

Details of the consultative process, including a full copy of the draft regulation, can be downloaded by visiting: https://www.dews.qld.gov.au/our-department/consultations/fuel-price-board-regulatory-reform.

ACAPMA is interested in hearing from any fuel retail businesses that have concerns about the proposed regulation on or before 22 May 2017, in order for these issues to be considered for inclusion in the Association’s formal submission.

Further information can be obtained by contacting ACAPMA on 1300 160 270 or emailing markm@acapma.com.au.