Page 2123 - Week 07 - Thursday, 16 May 2013

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I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Ms Burch) adjourned to the next sitting.

Fair Trading (Fuel Prices) Amendment Bill 2013

Mr Rattenbury, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.14): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Some months ago a constituent wrote to me expressing their frustration that service stations advertise fuel at a particular price on the large boards out the front but in fact when you get to the bowser a different, higher price is being charged. It is something I am sure we have all noticed at some point in time, the discrepancy from what we expected to pay to the actual price at the bowser.

The constituent strongly advocated the approach adopted in New South Wales. I have to say that I agree that the New South Wales regulation to deal with the issue and prohibit the practice is a good model to follow and the bill I am presenting today adopts the same measures as those put in place in New South Wales. It is a simple and sensible reform that should assist consumers as well as improving competition in the fuel market, better enabling smaller, independent retailers to compete with the large chains.

Since the big supermarket chains have expanded into service station operation, there has been a significant reduction in the number of participants in the fuel market. Advertising prices that are only available to those who have already shopped in the corresponding supermarket is essentially promoting an artificial price rather than the real, ordinary price and a mechanism of concentrating the market away from smaller retailers.

By world standards, petro fuels are very cheap in Australia. Reports from the International Energy Agency show this very clearly. For example, in many countries across Europe petrol prices have been well in excess of $2 a litre for many years now.

The most recent IEA report demonstrates that peak oil most likely already occurred in 2006 and we will increasingly feel its impacts. It will mean significant changes in the market and significant increases in petrol prices. This is an enormous challenge for governments; one that needs to be addressed urgently to provide alternatives to fossil fuel based private transport.

The environmental consequences of fossil fuel use are also well known and finding alternatives is one of the key challenges we face, and one that will only get more acute.

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