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Motor industry push for choice

THE WA Motor industry has called on the Federal Government to pass a Private Member’s Bill which would allow service station operators to buy up to 50 per cent of their fuel from sources other than their oil company supplier.

Motor Trade Association WA executive director Peter Fitzpatrick said service station operators were locked into long term fuel supply contracts resulting in retailers paying inflated wholesale prices for their fuel.

“The legislation would create competition at the refinery gate, bring greater transparency to fuel pricing and end the rollercoaster discounting system which operates at the whim of oil company executives,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.

A Senate Economics Reference Committee is currently inquiring into the provisions of the Fair Prices and Better Access for All (Petroleum) Bill 1999 and the oil company practice of multi-site franchising.

Mr Fitzgerald said the inquiry was a result of fuel retailers’ claims that the wholesale fuel market was uncompetitive.

“Oil companies do not offer competitive wholesale fuel prices and then manipulate the retail price of fuel to the consumer,” he said.

“While there is wild fluctuation in the metropolitan market as a result of oil company intervention, there is no such joy for country motorists, because the oil companies en masse have opted not to offer discount prices in the bush.”

The Bill would also provide that contracts entered in to after a certain date which did not allow for operators to ‘shop around’ would be in breach of the exclusive dealing provisions of the Trade Practices Act.

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