The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has confirmed that Cairns will be the fourth regional location to be studied as part of the petrol-monitoring arrangements introduced by the Australian Government in December 2014.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said Cairns petrol prices were among the highest in Queensland given the city’s size and location, but the commission also considered a range of other factors before choosing Cairns for the study, such as the price differentials between regional markets and larger cities, those between towns of similar size, and the variability of prices in regional markets.
“In 2014-15, the average retail price of unleaded petrol in Cairns was 146.4cpl [cents per litre],” Mr Sims said. “This was 12.3cpl higher than prices in the five largest cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.”
He added that the detailed regional market studies were aimed at explaining each component of the prices paid at the bowser, to gain an understanding of why prices were higher in some regional locations.
“Understanding why petrol prices in Cairns are so high will help us identify the steps that could be taken to increase transparency and promote competition in the Cairns fuel market,” Mr Sims said. “It should also provide some explanation of why petrol prices are high in other regional locations around Queensland.
The ACCC’s first regional market study began in Darwin in March 2015, with its report released in November. The commission is now undertaking market studies in Launceston and Armidale and expects to report on these in the coming months.
“On conclusion of the four regional market studies, the ACCC will then review the overall lessons learned and how they may apply in other areas,” Mr Sims said.
The ACCC is seeking information from consumers, industry participants, stakeholders and any other interested parties regarding the petroleum industry in Cairns. Relevant information can be provided to the ACCC via its website at our consultation hub by July 31, 2016.