House debates

Monday, 18 February 2019

Statements by Members

Canberra: Fuel, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

4:16 pm

Photo of Andrew LeighAndrew Leigh (Fenner, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

Canberra's 59 service stations charge petrol prices that are on average 7.4 per cent above the national average. Like many Canberrans, I've grown sick and tired of the excuses given for these high prices. I commend the Barr government for its announcement that it will put in place a select committee inquiry, commission a detailed analysis by the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission and immediately act to reduce misleading petrol signage at petrol stations, where petrol stations attempt to lure people in with headline prices that customers can't receive. As Andrew Barr has pointed out: 'Canberra families are paying hundreds of dollars more than the equivalent New South Wales family each and every year.'

The ACCC have given a number of reasons why they think petrol prices are higher in Canberra: lower volumes, higher transport costs, the higher market share of Coles and less competitive pressure. But we don't think that they go far enough to explain the petrol price problem in Canberra.

Under a Shorten Labor government, we'll deliver the ACCC a market studies power. We'll ensure that the penalties for breaching our competition law are raised. We'll ramp up the litigation budget of the competition watchdog, and we'll get it to go after tacit collusion of the sort identified by David Byrne and Nicolas de Roos in their study of the Perth petrol market. Only Labor will deliver a better deal for customers across Australia.