Real-time fuel prices will be available on Queensland motorists’ smartphones within six months, with the state government confirming it will launch a two-year trial this year.
From December, price changes will be able to be seen on existing apps and websites within 30 minutes of the alteration being made at the service station.
The announcement comes as Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows Brisbane fuel prices have risen 7.4 per cent during the past quarter and 16.6 per cent during the past year.
Queensland Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said fuel prices will be published on existing apps and websites such as Motormouth, GasBuddy, PetrolSpy, RACQ and Compare the Market.
“The goal is for Queensland motorists to be able to identify the best deal, and use their buying power to support retailers who are doing the right thing,” he said.
“This trial seeks to put the power into customer’s hands.
“Retailers will have three months’ grace to get their houses in order and by the Easter holidays, offenders will face fines if they do not report their fuel prices accurately and on time.”
Dr Lynham said the system would have inbuilt safeguards against inaccurate or misleading pricing.
“The Palaszczuk government has always been focussed on developing a model that doesn’t create so much red tape that it is unworkable and pushes prices up,” he said.
“In contrast to the LNP’s proposed scheme, this system will be cost-effective and will not compete against commercial providers with its own fuel price app or website.
“We will not slug taxpayers with a price tag of up to $20 million and we will not punish fuel retailers with additional red tape that drives up the price of petrol.”
Earlier this year, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she had no plans to roll out a real-time fuel pricing app or website and urged the national consumer watchdog to take the lead on the issue.
The LNP has previously called for real-time monitoring of fuel prices and said it would introduce the measure if it won the 2020 state election.
LNP leader Deb Frecklington said she was disappointed Queensland motorists would have to wait another five months for the trial to begin.
“I’m glad that at long last Labor has adopted the LNP’s fuel price monitoring policy,” she said.
“However, I am hugely disappointed that motorists will have to wait another five months before they feel any relief at the fuel pump.
“Retailers won’t even be forced to comply with the trial until April next year – 16 months after I began calling for fuel price monitoring.
“This government is putting fuel companies ahead of drivers. Many Queenslanders are struggling with fuel costs and high bills and they need help now.”
RACQ head of public policy Rebecca Michael said the trial would empower motorists to save at the bowser and urged Queensland drivers to play their part to ensure the trial was a success.
“Fuel’s one of the biggest expenses for Queenslanders. That’s why we lobbied so hard for drivers to have access to the latest fuel prices at each and every servo,” she said.
“It’s a win-win for motorists and also for retailers offering cheaper fuel – motorists will now be able to find the best deals and support competitive service stations.
“We know some retailers will continue to price gouge and choose not to compete with those charging lower prices – this trial will empower drivers with the choice to reward the cheapest servos with their business.
“By paying attention to RACQ’s advice on when to fill up, and by using the app to find the cheapest servo and then rewarding it with your business, we’ll use people power to increase competition and drive down the price of fuel.”
In January, new laws came into effect banning service stations from showing discounted fuel prices on display boards.
Extracted from SMH