Page 5541 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 9 December 2009

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intervention by the government in relation to service stations might work or be appropriate or at least worth pursuing through a quite rigorous process in the way that we pursued the issue in relation to supermarket competition through the Martin review.

But I think it is important to understand the influence that the commonwealth has on petrol and oil and the role that the ACCC should be playing in relation to these issues. At the end of the day, it is the commonwealth government that we look to to provide leadership in relation to these issues.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Le Couteur?

MS LE COUTEUR: Thank you. Are there any specific actions the ACT government is taking to support independent petrol stations to be part of the ACT market?

MR STANHOPE: In the past, Ms Le Couteur, this Assembly has sought to take a national leadership role in relation to the introduction of independent service stations into the ACT. It is an experiment, perhaps, that did not achieve its potential.

At this stage, Ms Le Couteur, I have to say there is nothing that we have done specifically but, as I have just outlined—as a result of what I believe to have been a very good report delivered by Mr John Martin in relation to supermarket competition—it is essentially a similar issue. As I have said, I am minded now to see whether or not a similar process might produce similarly good and strong and what I believe to be workable recommendations for government in relation to competition.

It is an issue that I am happy to take on board, indeed take advice on. We would be more than happy to work with members of the Assembly, yourself particularly, Ms Le Couteur, to determine whether or not we as a government or as a community might usefully intervene, as we propose in relation to supermarkets, in relation to service stations.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Bresnan?

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Chief Minister, are there concerns about the difficulties in establishing terminal facilities for independent operators in the ACT?

MR STANHOPE: I am not aware of any, Ms Bresnan. I am not quite sure what the heart of the question is. I would be more than happy to take some advice on whether or not independent operators have expressed concern about particular impediments or barriers in relation to their establishing or acquiring land.

I do recall—I think it is anecdotal and it is one of the great ironies of life—that at the time Woolworths first decided to enter the service station market and was at the early stages of its takeover of a significant slice or proportion of service stations in Australia, Woolworths approached the ACCC seeking protection in relation to the adversarial, avaricious attitude of then supermarket chains to the new entrant, Woolworths.

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