Senate debates

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

Petroleum Retail Legislation Repeal Bill 2006

In Committee

9:38 am

Photo of Kerry O'BrienKerry O'Brien (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Transport) Share this | Hansard source

We agree that transparency in the Australian fuel market is critically important. Because we believed the powers of the ACCC were very important we supported Senator Murray’s amendment and moved our own amendment in the same terms to give the ACCC the power that it was seeking to monitor and deal with anticompetitive behaviour in the market. Unfortunately, the government chose not to support that amendment. We believe that Senator Fielding’s amendment will enhance transparency for the purchasers of fuel at the wholesale level. It will do no harm to the market at all; indeed, it will enhance competition by revealing the variety of means by which a retailer can access fuel potentially at a cheaper price. It will also reveal to the general public the nature of the market, the way in which discounts are obtained and limitations on obtaining discounts.

The government might argue that these discount arrangements are commercial-in-confidence. We think that this market is so important to the Australian community, to the structure of business costs and to the arrangements which keep this country moving, that we ought to support the amendment. As I say, we believe it does no harm to the market overall. To the extent that it may interfere with commercial arrangements, we believe that it is in the public interest that those arrangements be made as transparent as possible. We will be supporting this amendment. We urge the government to do likewise. I commend Senator Fielding’s comments to the chamber.


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