Tara's Thoughts

⛽ Fuel price report ⛽

September 17, 2019

Today the committee inquiring into fuel prices in the ACT handed down its final report, with five unanimously agreed recommendations:

  1. Creation of a fuel prices oversight body or position to continually monitor and report on the ACT market.
  2. That the Government proactively approach independent operators and consider offering them incentives to attract them to the market, with the aim of enabling greater competition.
  3. Initiate a mandatory real-time price monitoring scheme, accessed through a website and apps. While private apps currently exist, we found that none provides a full picture of the ACT market, and they can be inaccurate. We have specifically recommended the Government seek to expand the NSW FuelCheck scheme into the ACT.
  4. Enhanced education. Myths - like the ACT having a price cycle, or the ACT Government imposing a fuel tax - continue to persist. The more educated consumers are, the greater agency they have in making informed decisions.
  5. Review of ACT service station taxes and charges, comparing like sites in other areas of the ACT as well as other regions, to determine whether changes need to be made.

We have been mindful throughout this inquiry that at no point did we want to risk recommending a measure which may potentially result in higher fuel prices for ACT consumers.

A number of suggested options put to us carried the risk of higher fuel prices for Canberrans, and the Committee has remained concerned about the difficult in forecasting the impact of different options. For this reason, we have been deliberately cautious in our approach.

The way fuel prices are determined is largely outside the ACT Government's control. However, where the Committee believes the ACT Government can review its approach or make changes without risking a poorer result for consumers, we have recommended this.

Overall, the theme of the Committee’s recommendations is one of creating both greater competition and transparency, with a view to arming consumers with better choice and information in making fuel purchasing decisions.

The implementation of these recommendations, combined with consumers taking the next step in making behavioural changes, is what we believe will result in the greatest opportunity, and the greatest chance, of ACT consumers ultimately paying fairer fuel prices.

The final report has been released