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What is the government hiding on FuelWatch, asks Hartsuyker\n

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Luke Hartsuyker MP

Shadow Minister for Business Development, Independent Contractors and Consumer Affairs Federal Member for Cowper

Media Contact: Greg Pierce 02 66 52 62 33 0408 532 785 Canberra: 62 77 4447

15 July, 2008

Media Release

What is the government hiding on FuelWatch, asks Hartsuyker

The Rudd Government must come clean and release the full analysis of the FuelWatch scheme following a second critical study, Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs, Luke Hartsuyker, said today (Tuesday).

Latrobe University economist Don Harding has been studying the analysis of the FuelWatch scheme in Western Australia by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The analysis comes as the Senate inquiry into FuelWatch holds its first hearing in a capital city in Perth tomorrow (Wednesday).

Earlier this month, he found that on the basis of the analysis released by the ACCC, it was not possible to conclude that FuelWatch had not raised prices. Now Professor Harding has examined the data used by the ACCC.

“His findings are damning,” said Mr Hartsuyker. “He concludes that FuelWatch either increased petrol prices by a small amount or had no effect. Also, he finds that the entry of Woolworths and Coles into the Western Australian market reduced unleaded petrol prices by 2.67 per cent, relative to Sydney.

“The Rudd Government must now make the ACCC release its analysis for peer review, something that it has failed to do. The Rudd Government ignored the advice of four government departments and relied solely on the work of the ACCC to justify FuelWatch.

“Professor Harding’s work is further evidence that FuelWatch is a fraud. It won’t bring down petrol prices and it may even push them up.

“The Government is desperate to be seen to be acting on petrol prices and has been hiding behind this flawed scheme. Professor Harding has blown their cover.”