The impact of high fuel prices has been laid bare in responses to an ACT parliamentary committee survey, with residents revealing they have lost their jobs and been left unable to afford non-work activities.
The online survey, completed by 112 people, also revealed more than 80 per cent of Canberrans don’t believe there is enough competition in the capital’s fuel market.
Canberra’s fuel prices have taken a toll on the city’s residents.
The survey is part of a bipartisan Legislative Assembly committee’s investigation into the impact of high fuel prices on Canberrans.
The results show more than 85 per cent of motorists in the capital take steps to try and pay less for fuel.
They do so by employing strategies including driving less, switching to motorcycles despite safety concerns, travelling long distances to fill up at cheaper service stations and crossing the border into NSW.
But some Canberrans have been unable to stave off the impact of high fuel prices.
Truck driver Robert Gorman said the rising cost of diesel meant he had lost his job driving for a concrete company.
The Lyneham man, who followed in his father’s footsteps by going into the trucking industry, said he had been fortunate to find work soon afterwards.
“The price of diesel went up about $4000 a month,” he told the Sunday Canberra Times.
“It happened over probably a three-month period and that was my wages, so the increase in the cost of fuel led to the decision of the employer to let me go.”
He said he had just come back from a weekend in Adelaide, where fuel was about 20 cents a litre cheaper, making it even more difficult to accept Canberra’s high prices.
Another survey respondent, Torrens woman Debbie Lizars, said she worked in community care and couldn’t possibly do her job without driving.
In response to a question about whether she had changed her habits because of rising fuel prices, she said: “Yes, I no longer go anywhere unless it is required for work. I cannot afford leisure activities.”
Nicholls man Barry Matson described the impact of petrol prices on his life as “immense” because they prevented him seeing his grandchildren as often as he would like.
The Legislative Assembly select committee investigating fuel prices asked survey respondents to answer 12 questions.
Of the 112 who took part, 93 said they did not believe there was adequate competition among fuel companies in the ACT.
Ninety-seven respondents said they took steps to try and pay less for fuel, but many indicated that they had to go out of their way to find cheaper options than those available near their homes.
Lachlan, a respondent who only gave his first name, said he travelled interstate to get fuel, or to Majura Park if crossing the border was not possible.
“This is ridiculous as it can take over an hour just to get fuel at a reasonable price,” the Crace resident wrote. “It proves worth it price-wise though.”
Several respondents described having to watch their spending more closely as petrol prices went up.
Paul, a McKellar resident, said he made an effort to travel for cheaper fuel but described having to do so as “painful”.
Rodney, from Macquarie, said he had to drive to Fyshwick or Majura to get a good deal.
“[This] defeats the purpose of getting cheaper fuel as it is a 32km round trip for me,” he wrote.
The Assembly inquiry is set for completion in June. The Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission is conducting a parallel analysis of the factors behind Canberra’s fuel prices.
Extracted from Canberra Times