Councillor phill Meehan calls for fairier fuel prices.
Councillor phill Meehan calls for fairier fuel prices. Noel Thompson

Ballina drivers paying 35c/litre more for fuel

BALLINA Shire councillor Phil Meehan is perplexed by petrol pricing in the region and will on January 24 ask his colleagues to support his call for an inquiry by the pricing watchdog.

Cr Meehan wants the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to conduct an inquiry into petrol pricing in regional areas.

This follows Page MP Kevin Hogan's call for a Royal Commission.

Cr Meehan's frustration with fuel pricing locally was highlighted last week when he filled up in Brisbane, and the same unleaded 95 octane fuel from the same retail chain was 35c dearer in Ballina.

"This (high petrol prices) is having a real negative impact on many Ballina Shire families and businesses," he said.

He said the ACCC recognised transport costs as a reason for higher petrol prices outside of metropolitan areas.

"But, really? Thirty-five cents a litre extra in Ballina, just two hours drive from Brisbane?" he asked.

"I cannot see how this whole situation is justified in a fair and competitive market.

"It is time that the community stated its opinion about petrol prices in regional areas."

He further questioned the transport cost argument by noting that petrol prices could vary significantly within the Northern Rivers, with some Ballina motorists taking to social media to point out service stations further south that had cheaper petrol.

What further "baffles" Cr Meehan is he noted diesel prices on the same day he travelled only varied by 8c between Brisbane and Ballina.

He said he was not suggesting anyone was doing anything untoward, but would like an inquiry, particularly as large operators like supermarkets have petrol stations in Ballina and that should promote competition.

"But that doesn't seem to be the case," he said.


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