Page 2428 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 August 2022
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (3.56): Mr Cain certainly raises a good point about the pressure that increasing fuel prices have put on household budgets. I think, compared to where we were not so long ago, fuel prices have gone up a lot. As the Chief Minister touched on, we know why that has happened. The international energy price shocks have had a very significant impact on our community and, in fact, on fuel prices. Many of the points I intended make have already been canvassed in this debate, so I do not intend to speak for too long. But we do recognise that this is a significant part of household budgets. I think these international events underline Australia’s vulnerability to the international fossil fuel supply chain and highlight the value of energy independence.
I was pleased that Mr Cain and the Chief Minister just talked about the potential role that electric vehicles will play over time in freeing us from that international risk point. Clearly, as more and more people are able to get their hands on EVs, we will better insulate them from those price shocks. But, here and now, we do have an issue.
Our intent is to support the Chief Minister’s amendment. This issue has obviously been around for a while. There have been a range of discussions on it in the Assembly over the years and, of course, we had the inquiry. The ACT government has approached the New South Wales government. I think this does come down to a question of: “What is the cost and what is the value of that cost?” Mr Cain has expressed it as “we can do better”. That may well be true. The question is: what price should we pay to do that little bit better?
I have, during the debate, just jumped on and had a look at some of the sites that are readily available for free, right now. And it is a fascinating thing. The Chief Minister talked about the geographical spread of petrol prices in Canberra. Within a six or seven-kilometre radius of where we are sitting, there is a variance of 45 cents a litre in petrol prices! It is quite extraordinary when you think about it. The difference between the inner south, the inner north and the airport precinct is a 45 cent range in those prices. If you are doing it tough with the budget, putting that into even a 40-litre car, you are talking about a $16 to $17 difference, so it is really material. But that information is available right now.
The nub of this discussion—whilst I do not disagree with Mr Cain about having this information available—is how much should the ACT government pay to get an extra app when Canberra motorists can get that information now? I think the Chief Minister’s approach is the correct one. He has acknowledged the history in his remarks, but I think that the crunch point, the conclusion, is that we certainly should continue to work with the New South Wales government. Given that they have the system up and running, the marginal cost of adding the ACT should be almost nothing. If we can get a good price on that, I think that is something we can have a look at. But if it is a significant cost, I am just not sure that it is a great use of ACT taxpayers’ money.
I am open-minded. I am not privy to those detailed discussions of what the actual cost is, and that is where I am supportive of the Chief Minister’s approach. I do note the comment about Euro VI standards as well. I certainly think that would assist. An interesting debate that is emerging now is whether we should go to Euro VI or