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Discount shopper dockets go under ALP petrol plan.



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The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources

31 May 2004

DISCOUNT SHOPPER DOCKETS GO UNDER ALP PETROL PLAN

Labor’s six point petrol plan could lead to the abolition of shopper dockets that save motorists about 4 cents a litre on petrol, and sales or discounts in the entire fuel retail sector.

It would be a bleak, high-priced petrol reality under Labor’s proposed changes to the Trade Practices Act.

Under Labor’s planned changes major companies selling goods at a discounted price, for whatever reason, could be fined, assets seized and managers even imprisoned if a competitor closes their doors because of the ‘price war’.

The uncertainty generated by this roughly cobbled-together plan will simply lead to higher prices at the petrol pump for all Australians.

According to The Courier Mail (31/05/04, p.7) Motor Trades Association of Queensland executive director, Tony Selmes, admitted yesterday that the Labor policy will not result in cheaper petrol prices overnight.

Service Station Owners Association President, Richard Halstead, also said: “I am not going to promise that petrol prices would come down because there are other markets that wreck havoc with our market” (Daily Telegraph,

31/05/04, p.2).

While Jim Lamb of the Independent Petrol Marketers Association told ABC radio (31/05/04): “I don’t believe that that particular point of Mark Latham’s would have any effect” when asked about legislating for independent access to the oil majors.

Labor’s heavy-handed approach to controlling the oil sector will increase distribution costs and only pass on these costs to motorists.

All this points to one outcome - higher petrol prices for all under a Labor Government.

This adds to last week’s announcement that Labor supports a petrol policy that will encourage Australian prices to climb to European levels - up to $3 a litre.

Launching Oil: Living with Less, National Labor President Carmen Lawrence endorsed a policy to “incrementally increase excise on petrol and diesel to European levels.”

Kirsty Boazman Media Adviser for Ian Macfarlane Minister for Industry, Tourism & Resources 6277 7580 or 0412 171 444