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Barnett behind the times on petrol probe.

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Senator Kate Lundy Shadow Minister for Manufacturing and Consumer Affairs Senator for the Australian Capital Territory

Tuesday 14 December 2004

Barnett behind the times on petrol probe

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Guy Barnett and his Coalition Government counterparts have finally heeded Labor’s call for an ACCC probe into petrol pricing, after over two weeks of ignoring the fact that consumers throughout Australia are paying too much for petrol.

Labor first questioned bowser prices when it was noted that substantial savings made through large drops crude oil prices were not being passed on to consumers.

“Oil companies are continually blaming rising petrol prices on the rising cost of crude oil. They are quick to react to an increase, yet when costs come down, it seems it is the consumers who bear the cost.” - 30 November 2004

After Australian consumers got no response from the Government, Labor asked the Government in Parliament,

“Will the Government now follow Labor’s lead and call on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to investigate the petrol prices being passed onto consumers - which are clearly not reflective of

the current cost of crude oil?”- 2 December 2004

Last Friday, with a 32.5% decrease in the price of crude oil over 6 weeks and a drop in the Singapore benchmark by 24.5% over that period, and no savings passed on to consumers, Labor placed further pressure on the Howard Government, calling for them to

“make legislative changes to ensure that the ACCC has the power to monitor prices and investigate why significant decreases in costs are not being passed on to consumers.” - 10 December 2004

Australian consumers and the opposition have been repeatedly ignored on the issue for over two weeks.

Yesterday, Liberal backbencher, Senator Barnett, finally recognised that there is a problem and has joined Labor’s chorus supporting Labor’s call for a petrol price probe.

Contact: Adina Cirson - 0418 488 295 or 02 6277 3334