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Democrats reject special treatment for oil giant.



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Joint Media Release

Senator Andrew Murray and

Senator Aden Ridgeway

Australian Democrats

Spokespeople for Small Business and Industry

 

30 August 1999

99/432

 

Democrats Reject Special Treatment for Oil Giant

 

The Australian Democrats will move to disallo w regulations that would retrospectively approve oil giant BP increasing its ownership of service station sites.

 

Democrats Industry Spokesperson, Senator Aden Ridgeway, instead repeated Democrat calls for the Government to delay any further deregulation of service station site ownership for at least two years and allow a further Senate review.

 

“BP has unlawfully pre-empted the deregulation by extending its ownership of service stations beyond the present limit of 5% and now wants the Government to bail it out by passing regulations retrospectively allowing it”, said Senator Ridgeway.

 

“To do so would be a parliamentary leg-up for one of the world’s largest multinational companies in what the Motor Traders Association of Australia has described as ‘deregulation by stealth’”.

 

The proposed regulations were also condemned by Democrats spokesperson on Small Business, Senator Andrew Murray.

 

“The Democrats expect all Australians, including large corporations, to respect the law and we have no intention of rewarding BP or any other oil corporation for second-guessing the Parliament’s intention to lift site ownership controls. They have jumped the gun and they must wear the consequences”, said Senator Murray.

 

Senator Ridgeway said Government moves to deregulate site ownership would encourage greater concentration of power in the hands of the oil corporations thereby reducing competition in the market place.

 

“This is not in the interests of a public already trying to cope with unfair petrol pricing inequities, particularly in the bush.

 

“The Democrats reiterate that we can not support full deregulation of site ownership controls until the OilCode and other market regulations have proved to be effective in controlling vertical integration.

 

“Anything less would be a sell-out of the public interest,” Senator Ridgeway concluded.

 

 

For further in formation contact:

Alastair Harris; (02) 6277 3855 or 0418 658 188

Senator Andrew Murray; (02) 2773 709 or 0419 958 038

Australian Democrats: www.democrats.org.au

 

 

md 1999-08-31  10:35