Nationals repeat call for inquiry into Fuelwatch

30 May, 2008 08:45 AM

The Nationals WA have repeated a call for an independent commission to investigate Fuelwatch, claiming it was nothing more than a Government-sponsored advertising arm for the major distributors.

Party leader Brendon Grylls said the giant supermarket chains Coles and Woolworths were the major beneficiaries of the system.

“Fuelwatch is clearly still not working in Western Australia and was precluding independents from exerting downward pressure on prices,” he said.

“Fuelwatch is anti-competitive and will ultimately spell the end of independent retailers.”

Mr Grylls said independents needed to be exempted from Fuelwatch and given the flexibility to under-cut the competition.

“We had the ridiculous system of a Mount Lawley independent facing heavy fines and jailfor offering discount fuel outside the system,” he said.

““We called for an inquiry two years ago and nothing has happed to make us change their mind."

Mr Grylls said Fuelwatch was a fiasco for the motoring public and a disaster for the few independents that remained in WA.

He said an ACCC report on fuel pricing arrangements in WA had already found that independents were disadvantaged by the 24-hour rule because they could no longer use price discounts as a way of attracting business.

“Being forced to pre-set prices has robbed them of their main tool for achieving competitive advantage,” he said.


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