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FuelWatch won't bring down fuel prices: inquiry.

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- MEDIA RELEASE - SENATOR THE HON. ERIC ABETZ Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research

Media enquiries: Brad Stansfield 0419 884 666 1

A0891 14th October 2008

FuelWatch won't bring down fuel prices: inquiry

The Senate Economics Committee inquiry into FuelWatch has confirmed it will not bring down fuel prices, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, and Economics Committee member, Senator Eric Abetz said today.

Worse, it will damage independents - the drivers of price competition in the fuel retailing market.

"When they announced FuelWatch, the Government promised that FuelWatch would reduce fuel prices. The Treasurer even claimed it would reduce prices by up to 20c per litre!1", Senator Abetz said.

"Yet no credible evidence was presented to the Committee that it will reduce prices.

"Even ACCC Commissioner Graeme Samuel admitted to the Committee:

“I have indicated quite publicly that we do not see FuelWatch as ultimately being there to bring about a reduction in prices.” 2

"Worse, the evidence is overwhelming that FuelWatch will decimate the independent fuel retailing sector.

"It is the independents who provide the competitive presence in the fuel market, and therefore any adverse impact on the independents will be bad for motorists.

"Stripped of its price-cutting charade, all that remains of FuelWatch is a $20.9 million price monitoring website - something which is already being done by the various motoring organisations, and something with the private sector is also establishing.3

"Given that it will not reduce prices; that it will harm the independents; and that the market is already filling the monitoring role that is all the remains of FuelWatch, Coalition Senators on the Economics Committee recommend FuelWatch be opposed.

The Coaltion Senator's Dissenting Minority Report is attached.

1 ABC Insiders programme, 17 August, 2008 2 ACCC Chairman Graeme Samuel, Committee Hearing, Melbourne, 7th August 2008 3

Recently, Google, in conjunction with MotorMouth (Informed Sources) launched their “Petrol Price Tracker Gadget” which enables users to search current petrol prices in their locality.