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MP calls on ACCC to launch inquiry into petrol prices

Kevin Farmer

A TWENTY cent difference between the price of unleaded petrol at Casino and Ballina has prompted Page MP Kevin Hogan to call on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to launch an inquiry.

Mr Hogan wrote to the ACCC this week asking it to investigate why local petrol prices were well above the average of both Sydney and Brisbane.

He said while crude oil prices had fallen 20% this year to about $28 a barrel and were almost at a 15-year low, the cost wasn't being passed on to consumers.

"There are two issues that I see here. One is the absolute fall in relative petrol prices," he said.

"You have the price in Sydney, which is $1.05 as an average on Thursday, and at Casino, I think it was quite reasonable at $1.08, but residents in Ballina are paying too much.

"Obviously there are transport costs to get fuel to the Northern Rivers but there shouldn't be such a difference in price compared to Sydney."

Mr Hogan said the second issue was the price difference locally.

"How can you have $1.08 in Casino, $1.20 in Lismore, $1.30 in Ballina and have these great variations in price in our region?" he asked.

"It's like one of the great mysteries of the world and the ACCC have to get to the bottom of this because if there is collusion it's not okay."

The NRMA said the average price for unleaded fuel in Lismore on Thursday was $1.21.3 per litre, which should fall to $1.15 in coming weeks.

NRMA North Coast director Wendy Machin said there was "no reason why falling world oil prices should not be passed on to regional motorists".

"This year both the NSW Government and the ACCC will oblige service stations and the major retailers to display their prices in real time online," Ms Machin said. "This follows years of NRMA lobbying for just such a measure.

"It will be the single most meaningful step to date toward motorists getting the good oil about this important household expense."

WHAT YOU'RE PAYING

For unleaded/diesel:

Ballina $1.29.5/$1.30.1

Casino $1.09.4/$1.14.7

Lismore $1.22/$1.23.6

Murwillumbah $1.28.9/$1.25.6

Tweed Heads South $1.12.6/$1.23.6

SOURCE: Seven-day price average from motormouth.com.au on January 22

Topics:  accc, kevin hogan, northern rivers, petrol price




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