MP frustrated by evidence of continued collusion in Armidale


MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall remains frustrated by the lack of action from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on the continually high petrol prices suffered by Armidale residents, compared to other parts of country NSW


The local MP has again taken the fight to the ACCC, demanding to know why nearly 18 months after their ‘Report on the Armidale petrol market’ nothing has changed in the city.


“The Report was an overblown exercise in stating the obvious, which I said at the time, but you would think that if they can be bothered producing 72 pages of repetitive dribble about the fact Armidale residents pay higher prices for their petrol, they might at least expend some energy on figuring out why,” Mr Marshall said.


“I’ve written to the ACCC again to rouse them from their slumber on this issue and get them to do something, not just sit back and watch it happen.


“I’m also taking the matter up with Barnaby Joyce.


“The ACCC is a federal government body and if they need more powers to get something done about what is blatant price fixing in Armidale, then give them those powers.


“The ACCC is charged with protecting consumers from this type of commercial behaviour and I have not seen that happen in Armidale.”


Mr Marshall heaped praise on the locally-owned independent Beardy Street Servo, which is consistently 10 cents per litre cheaper for fuel each day.


“Thank goodness for the Beardy Street Servo – reasonable prices and good old country service,” he said


“But how is it that Beardy Street Servo can run a profitable business and yet be consistently so much cheaper than all the other outlets, which conveniently all keep their prices almost exactly the same?” he said.


“There is certainly more to this than sheer coincidence.”


Armidale petrol prices remain consistently high compared to other areas. In successive reports, the ACCC has pointed to a lack of competition as the possible cause of the inflated prices. This reasoning is rejected by the MP.


“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, these high prices cannot be from the lack of competition in Armidale when surrounding towns and villages such as Guyra and Invergowrie, with only one or two stations, consistently have lower petrol prices,” Mr Marshall said.


“It’s also interesting to note that the dominant providers – who have nearly a 90 per cent share of the market – all have similarly high prices and yet the independent retailer in Beardy Street is consistently cheaper.”


Mr Marshall said the time for reporting was over.


“There have been three reports on Armidale petrol prices since 2014 – the problem is obvious, it’s now time for the ACCC to do its job,” he said.


“In the meantime, I encourage Armidale residents to avoid the big retailers.


Use the NSW FuelCheck website or App and find the cheapest fuel – it’s usually at the independent retailer in Beardy Street and they’ll even help you pump your fuel and wash your windscreen.


Editor’s note


At 3.45pm today (16 April 2018), Premium 95 unleaded prices in Armidale were:

  • Caltex Marsh Street                  161.9 cents per litre
  • Caltex Woolworths                    163.9
  • Caltex Queen Elizabeth Drive    163.9
  • Caltex North Hill                       163.9
  • Coles Express Marsh Street      167.9
  • Beardy Street Servo                  146 (15.9 cents per litre cheaper)

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