A call by the RACT for legislation which would make it compulsory for fuel retailers to report their pump prices has not been backed by the Tasmanian government. 

RACT executive general manager, membership and community Stacey Pennicott said Tasmanians have been paying too much for fuel for too long. 

“It is time for government-led, centralised real-time fuel price information to be made available to the public,” Ms Pennicott said.

“This would involve retailers being required to share their pricing, as well as all levels of government activity monitoring prices to address unjustifiable and excessive differences.”

Building and Construction Minister Elise Archer said a petrol price transparency package announced by the Liberal party before the state election delivers better fuel price information for motorists without the need for legislative red tape and an ongoing cost to taxpayers.

“As part of [the package], two important measures have been implemented to encourage Tasmanian consumers to seek out and support the fuel retailers who are providing competitive prices,” Ms Archer said. 

“This includes support to the RACT to provide free public access to timely and accurate fuel prices across Tasmania through the GasBuddy fuel price app, and the introduction of a code of practice for Fuel Price Boards to ensure only full retail prices are displayed.

“Tasmanian consumers are strongly encouraged to utilise these resources and support the fuel retailers who are providing competitive prices.”

Ms Pennicott said RACT was calling on the government to look at the New South Wales model of fuel price monitoring which, under a Fuel Check Order in the Fair Trading Act, makes it compulsory to report retail petrol prices.

Fuel Check allows motorists to find and get directions to the cheapest fuel in their area and compares fuel prices according to brand or type, such as unleaded, premium unleaded or diesel.

“RACT has tried a number of initiates alongside the state government to reduce fuel prices. To date the measures put in place, such as the GasBuddy app, have been ineffective,” Ms Pennicott said.

“What we are seeing with that app is that motorists don’t want to have to input the information.

“It is something that is not practical if you are driving around and filling up – the last thing you want to do is open up the app and put the price in for another motorist.

“Putting the onus onto fuel providers to provide the accurate information is the only way we are going to see a change.”

RACT’s call for greater action on fuel prices follows the release of quarterly data from the Australian Automobile Association which showed average monthly fuel prices increased across the state between March and June this year.

Fuel increased 8.8 per cent in Launceston, 7.3 per cent in Burnie, 7.8 per cent in Devonport and 9.1 per cent in Ulverstone.

The report showed Launceston residents were paying an extra $264 a year for fuel and Hobart households were paying an additional $199 per year.

“Launceston has ranked in the top three highest weekly fuel prices of all regional cities since regional monitoring started in the second quarter of 2017,” Ms Pennicott said. 

Extracted from Examiner