Tasmania to introduce mandatory fuel-price reporting amid coronavirus crisis

Key points:

  • Tasmanians have been promised a smartphone app and website to monitor state fuel prices by July
  • The Premier said prices have failed to fall along with other states, as the coronavirus pandemic hit the world market
  • Fuel retailers have been warned a fuel price cap might be considered if there is no downward movement of prices

Real-time, mandatory fuel-price reporting will be introduced in Tasmania after the State Government declared prices had remained too high during the coronavirus pandemic.

Premier Peter Gutwein said the Government would consider a fuel price cap if necessary.

Mr Gutwein said mandatory reporting in the state was being introduced to put downward pressure on fuel prices.

He said a fall in fuel prices around the country because of the effect of the coronavirus on world oil markets had not been seen to the same degree in Tasmania, and while some extra transportation costs were to be expected “our prices have remained high”.

He said if fuel prices in the state “continue to be out of step this Government will continue taking further action and will consider price capping”.

“Global oil prices have come down significantly, and that was reflected on the mainland,” Attorney-General Elise Archer said.

“The same quick reaction wasn’t seen in Tasmania.”

Ms Archer said all retailers would have to update fuel prices as they occurred, to provide increased levels of transparency in real time.

“Fuel prices can be expensive because of distance, because of Bass Strait, but it doesn’t justify prices that we’re still seeing,” she said.

“By making [price reporting] mandatory, [this] will create necessary competition, [and] we’ll be watching.

“All of those things should drive downward pressure on fuel prices.”

Comparative fuel prices:

  • Hobart 111.1 cents
  • Sydney 107.1
  • Melbourne 106.4
  • Brisbane 106.2
  • Adelaide 128.0
  • Perth 97.0
  • Darwin 109.8

(Average price unleaded. Source: motormouth.com.au)

Fuel price cap threat

Mr Gutwein said the fuel price reporting scheme was “an issue to get on top of”, and that “if prices remain excessively high, we’ll consider price capping”.

When questioned, Ms Archer did not reveal details of any plans to cap prices if the reporting scheme did not result in downward pressure on fuel prices.

“What we’re prepared to do is look at further action if that’s necessary in terms of legislative requirements,” she said.

Ms Archer said the mandatory prices reporting scheme was, at this stage, a “code of practice” monitored only by regulation.

‘Aggressive construction plan’ to aid recovery

Tasmania’s coronavirus case total stands at 226, with eight active cases and 205 recoveries.

Thirteen people have died from the disease, but no new cases have been identified in the state for 10 days.

Mr Gutwein said the state was only a week into stage one restrictions easing and he would not speed up the plan to drop safeguards earlier at the request of other states.

He said restrictions would be reviewed next week and intimated there may be some easings in time for the long weekend in June.

Mr Gutwein foreshadowed that a major construction plan to help rebuild the state’s economy would be ready next week.

“As we step through this, next week I’ll be announcing what will be without question the most aggressive construction program in Tasmania’s history,” he said.

“I have every confidence that by building off this base, we will get through this.

“[We need to] step through this sensibly, responsibly guided by public health advice. The last thing we want to do is shut down the economy again.”


Extracted from ABC

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