An outback roadhouse on the edge of the Simpson Desert may have some of the cheapest fuel in the country — and no, it’s not a mirage.
The roadhouse’s owner says she’ll have to raise the price when she gets her next consignment of fuel this week
Jenna Brook says the cost of fuel might deter some grey nomads from spending as freely as usual in isolated areas
A peak body says the cost of petrol could but a dampener on the upcoming outback tourism season
Birdsville Roadhouse, in the far south-west corner of Queensland, is selling unleaded petrol for $1.94 per litre and diesel for $1.99 per litre.
Owner Jenna Brook said her last delivery of fuel was in early January and she didn’t feel she could justify charging more.
“I haven’t put prices up yet because there’s still cheap fuel in the ground,” she said.
Prices of unleaded petrol have exceeded $2 per litre this week, with diesel hitting $2.38 per litre amid international supply and demand issues.
Ms Brook said her prices were usually higher than in metro areas due to the roadhouse’s isolated location.
But she expects her prices will skyrocket when she receives another delivery later this week.
“It will definitely increase significantly then and be much more in line with the rest of the country,” she said.
Fears costs will turn off tourists
Denise Brown from the Outback Queensland Tourism Association is concerned prices at the bowser could put a dampener on the coming tourist season.
“At the moment we’re not seeing any booking changes, but we are monitoring the situation very closely for any consumer changes,” she said.
“History does show that fuel prices haven’t impacted long-haul travellers, so that is a good sign, but we’ve never had anything like this.
“The operators who are running tour businesses, coach operators, hospitality businesses will all be impacted by these fuel costs,” Ms Brown said.
“It just means we’re working harder to tempt travellers out, to make sure they spend money in our regional towns to keep them afloat and booming.”
Ms Brown said the federal government “should be helping out”.
We are meeting with several different agencies to put that pressure on,” she said.
Ms Brook said fuel prices could also slow the tide of grey nomads.
“Maybe they won’t eat out at hotels as much, maybe they don’t stay in accommodation as much,” she said.