MPs call for fairer regional fuel prices

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times
11 South West MPs have joined forces to bridge the disparity between regional and metropolitan fuel prices.
Camera Icon11 South West MPs have joined forces to bridge the disparity between regional and metropolitan fuel prices. Credit: South Western Times;

All 11 South West MPs have joined forces in an effort to bridge the “unacceptable” price disparity between regional and metropolitan fuel prices.

With a fuel price gap of up to 40 cents, the South West Members of Parliament were spurred on to write to petrol companies to call for fairer pricing.

Speaking to the Manjimup-Bridgetown Times, Warren-Blackwood MLA Terry Redman said the difference in fuel prices between the regional and metropolitan areas was much higher than could normally be explained by freight and volume differences.

“This large differential is unacceptable and needs to be investigated,” he said.

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“I am told that freight and storage costs, lower volume turnover and the recent slow-down in road traffic are all contributors to the higher price. “Whilst these may form part of the justification, I don’t accept this fully accounts for what has recently been a 30 to 40 cents per litre price difference.”

Mr Redman and Manjimup shire president Paul Omodei agreed the fault could not be blamed solely on the regional operators of South West service stations.

“They buy at a certain price and have to sell to make a return,” Cr Omodei said.

“When the wholesale price is low, there has to be a fair margin.

“There are already limits to travel, so fuel consumption is low and I’m hoping once service stations empty their tanks and get a lower price, they can then sell at a lower price.”

Manjimup Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Victoria Howe said it was important to understand the local service stations did have to take delivery costs into account.

“Businesses are doing what they can, they have to purchase fuel and sell it at a cost that’ll provide a return,” she said.

“They have been affected too, with less people travelling and not having to buy fuel as often.”

Since sending the letter late last month, the MPs have received a response from BP and are waiting to see if other fuel brands respond.

“I am convinced that teaming up as a community and demanding an explanation from fuel companies is the best step forward in keeping fuel pricing transparent and competitive,” Mr Redman, pictured, said.

“Living in the region comes with a cost, however we should not be disadvantaged unfairly just because of where we live.”

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