The Rudd Government’s new suggestion for a petrol commissioner has raised the possibility of making national a WA system that requires service stations to release petrol prices in advance.
Pat Walker, formerly Western Australia’s Commissioner for Consumer Protection, will join the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission as petrol commissioner provided state governments agree to the appointment.
In an interview on Channel Nine, Walker said he will look at whether the WA system, where service stations are locked in to prices decided and advertised the night before, would work on a national level.
“In Perth, no matter where the price cycle is, there’s about a 15 cent-a-litre difference between the cheapest petrol station in Perth and the dearest,” Walker said. “People can in fact shop around. I think they feel more empowered by that.”
Consumer and Competition Policy Minister Chris Bowen says in addition to monitoring petrol prices, Walker will be asked to look into whether the ACCC could use additional powers to regulate LPG and diesel prices.
“Mr Walker has my full support in doing what is necessary to ensure that we have a fully competitive fuel market in Australia,” Bowen says.