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Hockey quizzes Watkins on petrol

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Media ReleaseThe HON, Joe Hockey m p M mis ter for Financial Services & RegulationHOCKEY QUIZZES WATKINS ON PETROL Parliament House,CanberraThe Minister for Financial Services & Regulation, Joe Hockey, today said NSW AC1 2600Fair Trading Minister John Watkins should take a close look at his own backyard A ustraliabefore attacking the Federal Government about petrol prices."The ACCC issued a report 3 years ago which spelt out ways the States and territories could make rural petrol prices more like city levels. So far, there has been no action from NSW," the Minister said.Telephone (61 2) 6277 7230Facsimile (61 2) 6273 4075 www.minfsr.treasury.gnv.auMinister Hockey was responding to Mr Watkins at the Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs meeting in Hubarl today.Can Mr Watkins answer the following questions:• What is NSW doing to persuade local councils to free up zoning laws so rural petrol retailers can expand their businesses?• Why was it that a major supermarket retailer who wanted to set up a petrol station in Albury could only get planning approval for a site more than 100 km away?• What is the NSW Government doing so country petrol retailers can sell other products, such as groceries, newspapers and magazines to make their businesses more profitable and rely less on petrol margins?• What has NSW done to encourage other businesses, such as Woolworths, into petrol retailing?• What is NSW doing to encourage more flexible opening hours for pebol retailers?• Why have Mr Watkins and the NSW Government taken more than three years to begin implementing the ACCC's recommendations on pebol signage?• What does Mr Watkins think the current State Pebol Franchise Fee arrangement do to pebol prices?• What is NSW doing to encourage rural business people and farmers to form buying groups so they can buy cheaper. pebol?"If Mr Watkins is so concerned about pebol price rises, he should follow Queensland's lead and abolish the franchise fees on petrol in NSW," the Minister said'iMr Watkins should be fixing up his own backyard before worrying about what others are doing to bring rural pebol prices down." In the meantime, the ACCC will continue Informal price monitoring, the Minister said.The Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs overwhelmingly rejected Mr Watkin's 10-point plan. "It was a political stunt and It was treated as such by the Commonwealth, States and Territory Ministers who were looking for real solutions for Australian consumers."40/99 20 August 1999Media contact·. Matthew Abbott, 02 6277 7230,0413 076213.The Minister's media releases and speeches are available on