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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2256 ..

MR OSBORNE (continuing):

I understand that the government has some amendments. I support all but one, the last one, which effectively would remove the guts of the bill and allow the oil companies to continue to charge a fee for compliance with this law, but only the franchisee service station outlets, which is unfair.

When I tabled the legislation last week, I informed the Assembly that this issue had been taken up with the ACCC and with the independent pricing commissioner. I look forward to the outcome of that.

I will not speak to the amendments, other than to say that I will be opposing Mr Stefaniak's last amendment. I thank the Labor Party and other members for their support.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Clauses 1 to 3, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Clause 4.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (10.16): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 3 at page 2281]. Amendment No 5, which seeks to delete the proposed new section 11, is consequential on this amendment. Mr Osborne and most other people in the Assembly are not agreeing with the government on amendment No 5. I will also speak to amendment No 5 now.

Mr Osborne introduced this bill in an attempt to resolve problems that have arisen from the original legislation. Unfortunately, this attempt will prove ineffectual. His solution represents an aggressive market intervention with no apparent justification. While supporting the proposal could be seen to be preventing price discrimination at the pumps, a popular outcome for ACT consumers, the ease with which the oil majors can circumvent the prohibition makes it ineffective.

Members have been lobbied by the Motor Trades Association to support the bill. The MTA seeks transparency in the pricing of petrol-a noble aim. However, if this bill is passed in its full form, then it is more than likely that the oil companies will simply recover the additional amount in another way.

Oil companies are free to change to some other pricing arrangement where the adjustment made for the temperature compensation of the fuel is not transparent but is simply hidden in the underlying wholesale price of the fuel. That is why the government opposes the prohibition proposal in Mr Osborne's bill. It is about making the sale of petrol temperature-independent.

The price that franchisees and independents pay is determined effectively on the basis of the weight of petrol that they are buying. However, there has been a cost associated with this new way of doing business and, as in every other industry where there is a cost

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