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Petroleum industry agrees to pursue national oil code.



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MEDIA RELEASE ISSUED BY MINISTER FOR INDUSTRY, TOURISM AND RESOURCES IAN MACFARLANE

19 November 2002                                02/230

PETROLEUM INDUSTRY AGREES TO PURSUE NATIONAL OIL CODE

The petrol industry today agreed to an industry Code of Practice that will carry with it fines of up to several million dollars for those who fail to comply with a new mandatory Oil Code.

The Federal Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, sought approval for an Oil Code option when he opened today's Petroleum Industry Forum and the industry has this afternoon agreed to move forward with the idea.

"The market has simply outgrown the 1980 Acts - we need a modern Act to deal with the contemporary petrol issues. The Oil Code is an opportunity for the entire industry to have input into a relevant and effective piece of regulation," he said. 

The forum members spent the morning debating the proposal before agreeing to a mandatory code and making the commitment to pursue a package of market reforms.

This package includes abolition of the Petroleum Retail Marketing Sites Act and the Petroleum Retail Marketing Franchise Act and the introduction of a national Oil Code.

This code would be a mandatory instrument under the Trade Practices Act (1974). As proposed by Mr Macfarlane, the oil code will be backed by the full weight of the fines and penalties under the Trade Practices Act.  

"The sanctions under the TPA would not only give the code teeth - it would have bite. There are sizeable fines for those who fail to play the game fairly, not only ensuring a competitive market but one that also protects consumers from wild price fluctuations," said Mr Macfarlane.

All industry participants, from petroleum refiners to single site operators, will be subject to the code. It will be developed in consultation with the downstream industry which has worked closely with the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources since the initial forum, held in April this year.

"The forum is proving a handy vehicle for really hammering out the difficult downstream issues. To their credit all of the industry players have taken up the challenge of confronting the reform necessary to ensure the long-term viability of the petroleum sector," he said

Media Contact: Kirsty Boazman, 02 62777580 or 0412171444.

CMR02-294