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AAP News (Australasia): Vic:Don’t scrap the petrol dockets says RACV boss

Simon Mossman,
Published: Aug 24, 2007

MELBOURNE, Aug 24 AAP – Motorists are smart enough to know how best to exploit Australia’s petrol price cycle, a leading industry figure said today. The Royal Automobile Club of Victoria’s (RACV) petrol pricing spokesman David Cumming told the competition watchdog’s public inquiry into fuel pricing that the petrol cycle had been around for a long time. And he warns any changes or attempts by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to scrap contentious shopper discount docket schemes could ultimately lead to less competition and higher petrol prices.

“The smart, astute motorist will save money by filling up on the cheapest day of the week,” Mr Cumming told the public hearing in Melbourne today. “The last thing that the RACV wants to see would be any interference in the market which means the price of petrol might actually go up and motorists can’t access discounted fuel. “The only thing to replace it (the shopper discount docket) with is a regulated price and a regulated price would lead to a higher average price in any given week.”

Independent petrol retailers claim they are losing out to supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths who dictate when prices are hiked or cut.

Fury (Fury) Bortolotto, who operates an independent Shell-branded service station in Melbourne’s northeast, told the inquiry the supermarket shopper discount docket had hurt his business, which had not experienced any growth in seven years. “This is the 46th inquiry into petrol pricing. It’s creating a juggernaut out of these shopper dockets,” Mr Bortolotto said. “There needs to be some control. “We cannot compete with the shopper dockets. Either we struggle with the small entrepreneurial side of it that we have and we grow other little auxiliary businesses, or we go to the wall.”

The results of the nationwide public inquiry are scheduled to be delivered to the federal treasurer on October 15 – close to the expected federal election. AAP sjm/szp/pmu/cjh/

 

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