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Labor confirms fuel shop-a-dockets to go.

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Ian Macfarlane Minister for Industry, Tourism & Resources

3 June 2004


In just 24 hours Labor’s resources spokesman has undone a week of hiding behind a ‘6 point petrol policy’ by twice admitting Labor does not support the shop-a-docket system which gives motorists a discount of about 4 cents a litre of fuel.

Joel Fitzgibbon last night admitted to the House of Representatives:

“We want to break down the power of big oil companies and.. the shopper docket scheme does, in turn, enhance the power of the major oil companies and their alliance partners - the supermarkets.” (Hansard)

Yesterday afternoon he dodged a question on ABC radio in South Australia about allowing the shop-a-docket scheme to stay by saying:

“Shop-a-dockets add to competition.. But at the same time, the shop-a-docket scheme does give extra advantage to those who are able to implement them, that is the big players, Shell and Coles, Caltex and Woolworths.” (ABC North & West SA, 2/6/04)

“Last year, according to an ANOP Research study done for the Australian Automobile Association, 53% of Australian motorists used shop-a-dockets to get a better deal at the pump and 56% come from households earning about $40,000.”

“4 cents a litre savings add up but Labor, through policy ignorance or intent, appears hell-bent on hitting people where it hurts most,” said Mr Macfarlane.

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

“Mr Fitzgibbon summed up Labor’s petrol policy, saying he had no idea what it would achieve in “dollar and cents terms”. That’s because it’s only there to deflect from Carmen Lawrence’s launch of a document that advocates letting Australian petrol prices rise to European levels - up to $2.50 a litre,” said Mr Macfarlane.

“In contrast, the Howard Government removed petrol indexation 3 years ago, saving motorists at least 5 cents a litre on today’s prices, and encourages greater competition and discount opportunities in the retail sector,” he said.

Prices will rise under Labor’s promise “to curtail the combined market power of Australia’s biggest grocery retailers and oil companies” (5/01/04 press release).

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