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Did FuelWatch have unanimous support within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.



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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 Email:greg.pierce@aph.gov.au Canberra: 62 77 4447

Media Release

April 18, 2008

Did FuelWatch have unanimous support within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet?

Shadow Minister for Business Development, Independent Contractors and Consumer Affairs, Luke Hartsuyker, today questioned whether the Rudd Government’s plan for a national FuelWatch scheme had the full support of his own department.

Mr Hartsuyker said there was speculation that serious reservations over the scheme exist within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

“Kevin Rudd needs to come clean with the Australian people and explain whether FuelWatch has the unanimous support of his department. Significant questions have been raised about the negative impact of FuelWatch on motorists and I understand those concerns are shared by key figures within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

“These same concerns are being raised by many groups across the nation. With the exception of Labor stooge, Alan Evans, from New South Wales’ NRMA, motoring groups all over Australia have expressed reservations about the impact of FuelWatch.

“The motoring groups include The Australian Automobile Association, the RACV in Victoria, the RACQ in Queensland and RAA in South Australia.

“Their concerns include that FuelWatch could increase fuel prices. By locking in prices for 24 hours FuelWatch also prevents service stations from dropping prices and offering motorists the opportunity to buy fuel at the bottom of the price cycle. There is strong evidence that most motorists buy at the bottom of the cycle - commonly known as ‘Cheap Tuesday’.

”There is also evidence that FuelWatch lengthens the price cycle from one week to two weeks, thereby disadvantaging motorists who have to buy fuel each week. Mr Rudd must tell the Australian people whether these concerns have been expressed within his own department,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“During last year’s election campaign, Kevin Rudd led the Australian people to believe that he could put downward pressure on fuel prices. Australian motorists have an expectation that he can deliver on that promise but they also deserve to know if his department thinks many motorists could be out of pocket as a result of the FuelWatch scheme.

“Kevin Rudd owes the Australian people an explanation and, at the very least, must guarantee that no motorist will be worse off under FuelWatch.”

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