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Petroleum marketing industry

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The Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs, Ual Fife said today that he would be reporting to the Government in the near future on the outcome of his examination of the petroleum marketing industry.

He said that following his announcement in October 1978 of a four point package of possible measures to overcome problems said to exist in the industry, he had invited and received submissions and views from State Governments, dealer groups, oil companies and other interested parties. . ’

Mr Fife siad that he had also held a series of full and frank discussions with dealer groups, oil companies and other parties over the period. On Uednesday in Sydney Mr Fife held a further meeting with representatives of the Australian Automobile Chamber of Commerce. .

He said he wished to express his appreciation for the co-operation given to him by interested parties since the possible package was announce.

Mr Fife said this co-operation had allowed him and his departmental officers to give extremely thorough consideration to the matter.

He said that the four point package envisaged a prohibition against price discrimination by oil companies between their,·lessee or licensed dealers and a prohibiticjn on direct retail selling by oil companies. It also contained proposals for equitable lease arrangements between oil companies and lessee dealers, · .

Mr Fife said that in addition to submissions received from interested parties the Government had the benefit of a Report on developments in the United States relevant to the Australian proposals.

This Rsport, prepared by a study group led by Sir Robert Cotton, KCMG, Australian Consul-General, New York, was tabled inParliament on 3 May 1979 and had also tjee commented on by interested parties. .

The Minister noted that since the announcement of the proposed package there hid been changes in'the Australian market situation which the Government would also take into account. In place of a situation of widespread discounting with allegations of price discrimination thera now existed a situation of supply difficulties and virtual

cessation of discounting at the retail level.

Mr Fife said that the part of the package covering franchising protection for lessee and licensee dealers was relevant to an inquiry currently being conducted by the Trade Practices Consultative Committee. He added that the major method of protection fo; ■ dealers in the US was by means of franchising laws. Ihe Trade Practices Consultative

Committee is considering the whole question of franchise legislation as part of a referen he had given to it to advise on ways of improving the market position of small business in Australia.

Mr Fife said he understood the Committee also had received submissions, which were invited by advertisement in major newspapers, from parties interested in tha market. of petroleum. .


17 August 1979. ■