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De-Anne Kelly lines up with Democrats on petrol deregulation.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

Senator Meg Lees

Australian Democrats

Parliamentary Leader

 

9 September, 1998

98/652

 

DE-ANNE KELLY LINES UP WITH DEMOCRATS ON PETROL DEREGULATION

 

Democrats Leader Senator Meg Lees says the National Party’s Member for the north Queensland seat of Dawson, De-Anne Kelly has effectively aligned herself with the Democrats position on petrol deregulation.

 

“I get a little worried when members of the National Party agree with me but I can understand why De-Anne Kelly is doing this,” Senator Lees says, “because the Democrats position on petrol deregulation is the most sensible platform on the issue at the moment.”

 

“The similarities between the Member for Dawson’s comments in a letter to a Service Station Proprietor in her electorate and the Democrats stated position of two months ago deserve to be highlighted.”

 

“Service Station Proprietors will be relieved to hear that at least one Coalition backbencher has finally come to their senses on this issue,” Senator Lees says, “but if they want to see the Government’s madness brought under control, proprietors, their employees and their customers must vote to give the Balance of Power to the Democrats on Polling Day.”

 

“It’s the only way they can be sure that the Government’s mis-handling of this issue can be sorted out.”

 

A copy of De-Anne Kelly’s letter, the Democrats Media Release and a letter to the Editor on fuel price regulation follows, as well as a letter from the Motor Trades Association.

 

 

For further comment: Senator Lees 0418 804 505 Alan Jenkins 02 6277 3203

 

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

Senator Meg Lees

Australian Democrats

Parliamentary Leader

 

July 20, 1998

98/524

 

Costello's wrong turn misses cheaper petrol

 

Peter Costello's Petroleum Marketing Reforms and the forced closure of 4000 small retail petrol businesses will not bring about cheaper petrol. The reforms will only benefit the multinational oil companies at the expense of rural consumers, according to the Australian Democrats.

 

Democrats Leader, Senator Meg Lees, said the Government's blinkered ideological vision made it quite incapable of recognising that the real problem in the petroleum industry is the market power of the oil companies.

 

"The main reason country petrol prices are so much higher than city prices is that both the Coalition Government and Labor governments allowed the multinational oil companies to buy up the independent wholesalers who used to supply country outlets," she said.

 

"This simply allowed the oil companies to set their own prices. They have been keeping country petrol pr ices artificially high to subsidise their discount wars in the city.

 

"Any petrol industry reform which is to be of real benefit to the bush must start by forcing the multinational oil companies out of the wholesaling business.

 

"Instead, Peter Costello has proposed a plan which entrenches multinational control of the wholesale industry.

 

"At the same time, Mr Costello's plan gives the oil companies almost total control of the retail sector by putting 4000 small business and franchises out of business" said Senator Lees.

 

"I fail to see how closing down 4000 competitors increases competition.

 

"This is deregulation lunacy and competition policy gone mad.

 

“Once again, as a result of this Government's deregulation policies, the winners will be big business and the losers will be small business and the bush. It is no different to the deregulation of the postal services announced last week," she said. "This package shows that this Government just never learns."

 

"People in regional and remote Australia are not going to fall for this clap trap. They know full well by now that deregulation is Coalition code for 'country pays more and big business wins out”.

 

"The Democrats will oppose the deregulation proposals announced by the Government today.

 

"We call on the Government to take off the ideological blinkers and fix the real problem with petrol prices -which is the market power of the major oil companies," Senator Lees said.

 

For further information: John Schumann 0419 867876 Senator Meg Lees 0418 804505

 

 

MEDIA BRIEF

 

Senator Meg Lees

Australian Democrats

Parliamentary Leader

 

20 July 1998

 

The Democrats' alternate five point plan for cheaper fuel.

 

1. Keep the Sites Act until prices actually come down in the country. Doing this is the best way of stopping even more power going to the oil majors [it was also an express Coalition election commitment in 1996 to keep the two Retail Sites Acts in place].

 

2. Require the oil companies to divest themselves of all interests in the wholesale level of the industry. An independent wholesaling sector completely separate from the oil manufacturers is crucial for competition developing in rural areas.

 

3. Finalise the Oil code and give it teeth. The Oil code has failed to adequately protect petrol station franchise holders and needs to be beefed up and backed with the resources of the ACCC and the Trade Practices Act.

 

4. Require terminal gate pricing in actual fact. not just as lip-service. In particular, allow this to be extended to franchise holders who make up 90 per cent of the market.

 

5. Development funding for alternative fuels which could eventually be cheaper than petrol. Only today, car manufacturer Honda called for more investment in alternative fuel sources.

 

For further comment: John Cherry 07 3844 8155 Alan Jenkins 02 6277 3991

 

 

PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA - THE SENATE

 

SENATOR ANDREW MURRAY

AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS

SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA

 

28 July 1998

 

TO THE LETTERS EDITOR

 

The main reason country petrol prices are so much higher than city prices is that both the Coalition and Labor governments have allowed the multinational oil companies to buy up independent wholesalers who used to supply country outlets. This has allowed oil companies to set their own prices resting in artificially high country petrol prices to subsidise discount wars in the city.

 

The Federal Treasurer would have us, believe his Petroleum Marketing Reforms, which give oil companies almost total: control of the retail sector by putting 4000 small businesses and franchises out of business, will bring cheaper petrol to regional areas. This is absolutely not true.

 

Any petrol industry reform which is to be of real benefit to the bush must start by forcing the multinational oil companies out of the wholesaling business. Instead, Peter Costello's proposed plan entrenches multinational control of the wholesale industry even more.

 

People in regional and remote Australia must, know by now that 'deregulation' is Coalition code for 'country pays more and big business wins out'.

 

This is deregulation lunacy and competition policy gone mad.

 

The Democrats are stating their case. We will oppose the deregulation proposals and call on the government to take off its ideological blinkers and fix the real problem with petrol prices, that is the overwhelming market power of major oil companies.

 

Yours faithfully

 

Andrew Murray

Australian Democrats Senator for Western Australia

 

 

Motor Trades Association of Australia

 

Senator Andrew Murray

Australian Democrats Senator for WA

By facsimile (08) 9481 1679

 

Dear Senator Murray

 

I write to you in relation to recent ‘letters to the editor’, written by the lead Australian Democrats Senate Candidate for Victoria, Mr Jim Downey, that have been printed most Victorian rural and regional newspapers regarding petrol prices. I attach a copy of this letter for your reference together with a response I have made to Mr Downey.

 

We respectfully assume that Mr Downey is your acolyte in this connection; his excellent understanding of the problems faced by retailers in the industry and the Government’s misplaced hope that deregulation will deliver price reductions is a credit to both you and the Australian Democrats in your endeavours to represent the interests of retail motor traders and small business more generally.

 

MTAA supports wholeheartedly the views expressed by you and Mr Downey and the Australian Democrats and, on behalf of our members, I would encourage the Democrats to continue to champion the plight of service station operators across Australia. With the Government intent on repeal of the petrol Acts and the multinational oil companies intent on further increasing their already powerful market share, the service stations of Australia welcome the support of the Australian Democrats as they seek to preserve their livelihoods and the jobs of the tens of thousands of Australians, they employ.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Executive Director

Michael Delaney

 

27 August 1998

 

 

 

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