RIPPED OFF: Why are we paying 30c a litre more for petrol?
ON a day when there's a 20 to 30c price differential between petrol prices in metro areas and those on the Northern Rivers, Page MP Kevin Hogan is demanding a Royal Commission to investigate alleged price gouging by Australia's supermarkets and in petrol retailing.
Petrol in Australia has been causing significant hip-pocket pain for motorists this year with prices at a long term high for the past few months but the cost of filling up is starting to drop around the country, giving regional drivers hope of some relief.
According to Fuel Check NSW trends show yesterday's average fuel price for unleaded was 135.6 cents, but the range at different bowsers could be as much as 49.7 cents across the state.
Up the road at the Gold Coast unleaded petrol prices average at 124.8 and 132.4 at Sydney (according to MotorMouth), but while prices may have dropped a few cents on the Northern Rivers this past week it still costs around 20 to 40 cents per litre more than metro areas - the average in the region sitting around 159.3 to 161.9.
Mr Hogan has announced he will move a a Notice a Motion in Parliament next week calling for a Royal Commission with terms of reference that cover the two areas.
"I hear enough stories from our farmers and processors that warrant a Royal Commission into our major supermarkets," Mr Hogan said.
"The allegations of misuse of market power, unconscionable conduct and the use of unfair contract terms must be investigated by a Royal Commission."
"The larger supermarket chains - Woolworths, Coles, ALDI - control more than 76 per cent of the industry."
Mr Hogan said when it came to petrol retailing he was "sick of regional and country retail petrol prices being higher than city prices".
"It is not unusual for there to be a 20-30 cent per litre differential. This is not explainable by transport costs or any other cost input.
"With very little public transport options in the country and the longer distances travelled, it is a huge impost on country people.
"I have questioned the ACCC and others on this and have never had a reasonable explanation," he said.
"This needs to be investigated by a Royal Commission to see if alleged price gouging is occurring."
According to the state government's fuelcheck website, here are the cheapest spots to fill up in your town (prices correct at 10am on Monday November 19):
United Petroleum Lismore, 16 Ballina Rd
Caltex East Ballina, 30 Links Av
Liberty Bangalow (54 Byron St) and Bangalow Fuel Supplies (16 Granuaille Rd)
United Petroleum Casino, 136-144 Johnston St