Page 2423 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 August 2022
The recommendation also comes from a select committee inquiry into ACT fuel prices in 2019. The committee heard from a range of stakeholders, constituents, industry groups and even the New South Wales government, who, by the way, have introduced a similar app. The committee heard significant evidence that real-time pricing monitoring did not currently exist in the ACT to a satisfactory standard. And, yes, I am aware that there are two private providers of this service at the moment, and more will be said about that later.
The Canberra Liberals believe that ACT residents pay some of the highest fuel prices in the country, due in part to the lack of transparency around fuel prices and barriers to entry for independent operators considering entering our market.
The Canberra Liberals believe there are three main factors informing the ACT’s fuel prices which provide clear support for the need for a FuelCheck app, as currently used in New South Wales. Firstly, the committee heard in 2019 consistent evidence that one of the reasons fuel prices are higher is that it is more difficult to physically see prices in the ACT. As members would be aware, we do not see in the ACT, generally speaking, service stations in a line, so that you can see their prices on boards or anything like that, in part due to our disparate town centre structure and connecting roads.
Secondly, the inquiry found that there are considerable barriers faced by independent operators considering entering the ACT fuel market. The inquiry also found that there is a need for mandatory real-time pricing monitoring. Currently, this is available through MotorMouth and Petrol Spy, both independent providers, which, while of value, do not give the assurance of a government-required collection of information. While these sources are useful for consumers, they do not need to be comprehensive and there may well be gaps in information. The government stated that they believe the two websites generally provide sufficient information on fuel prices, but the point of my motion is to ask: can we do better, and can we do better for Canberrans?
There is something that we could do—and I note that the Chief Minister has an amendment to my motion, which I will address later. We could take a leaf out of the New South Wales book—a very customer-service-centred, service delivery jurisdiction. The FuelCheck app in New South Wales has proved to be a safe, trusted and comprehensive model and has a prerogative to be as comprehensive as possible. It receives an average of 3,600 updates a month from businesses, and the interface from a business perspective seems to be fairly simple and user-friendly.
Here we are today, after the 2019 select inquiry, and even after recent recommendations from the NRMA, and we still do not have a comprehensive, government-mandated approach to checking fuel prices in the ACT.
On reflection, of course, there is an increasing number of electric vehicles in the ACT, and that trend will no doubt continue. But we are a long way away from the majority of cars in Canberra being electric vehicles. This FuelCheck app on fuel prices still has validity and currency in Canberra today and, I suspect, for quite a while.
As a result Canberra has some of the highest average fuel prices of any metro city in Australia, which clearly affects the cost of living of Canberrans. If the government has