LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – Petrol companies and other stakeholders in the fuel supply chain will be invited to a Fuel Price Summit in Darwin on October 7 to explain their current Territory pricing models.
It’s time for the big fuel companies to provide Territorians with answers about why their fuel is so much more expensive than other capitals and why there are discrepancies between some parts of the Northern Territory.
I will be formally writing to each of the major players this week insisting they attend the open Fuel Price Summit at Parliament House.
Fuel retailers, wholesalers, government officials and AANT will be invited to take part. Fuel companies and their suppliers should consider this invitation as a ‘please explain’.
They will be expected to provide either a transparent explanation for the current price discrepancies or a plan to offer relief at the bowser.
Immediately after the Summit, I expect the fuel companies to mount an extensive public information campaign explaining to motorists their justification for current price settings.
In addition to the actions being considered by the independent Consumer Affairs Commissioner in this space, I have also instructed the Attorney General to draft a bill which would legally require retailers to regularly publish a break-down of their price structure at the bowser.
The Fuel Price Disclosure Bill will ensure price settings are transparent and give motorists the information they need to make informed choices about where they buy their petrol.
While price transparency and disclosure will go some way towards meeting motorists’ expectation that they are not being ripped off, ultimately, the price of fuel will only be brought down by greater competition in the market.
The experience overseas supports this approach. For instance, in Canada some provinces have chosen to regulate prices but the national government concludes that whilst this makes prices more stable, the elimination of competition does not lead to lower fuel prices for consumers.
Fuel companies should be under no misapprehension that the Territory Government is prepared to use any innovation it can to create the level of competition required to force down prices.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR