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ACCC says petrol prices 'Sticky' around holidays.



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MEDIA RELEASE

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

Thursday, 17 February 2005

ACCC says petrol prices “Sticky” around holidays

The ACCC today described petrol prices as ‘Sticky’ - in other words, that prices on petrol are being artificially held up over Christmas and on long weekends - yet they can’t do anything about it.

Despite admitting that consumers are being disadvantaged, the ACCC reiterated the point that they really only have an informal price monitoring role.

The ACCC told an estimates committee that despite receiving 1,171 complaints in 2003/04 about high petrol prices, the most the ACCC can do is write complainants a letter outlining how petrol price cycles work in the capital cities.

The ACCC is restricted to acting only when anti-competitive behaviour or predatory pricing is evident, and as a result there is no agency or authority which has the power to act on behalf of consumers when prices get “sticky”.

The Howard Government must ensure that the ACCC has the power to not only monitor prices but be able to fully investigate why significant decreases in costs are often not passed on to consumers.

With fewer and fewer players in the fuel sector, it is more important than ever that Australians consumers are protected from this type of behaviour by a strong and robust Trade Practices Act.

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