The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Peter Costello

Peter Costello

Treasurer

11 March 1996 - 3 December 2007

Media Release of 15/06/2007

NO.050

ACCC to Inquire into Petrol Prices

I have today directed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to immediately commence an inquiry into petrol pricing across Australia under Part VIIA of the Trade Practices Act.

The Government has consistently stated that the ACCC will have the powers that it requires to make sure petrol is sold at competitive prices in Australia and has invited the commission to request any additional powers should it require them to do this.

Yesterday, the Chairman of the ACCC wrote to me and informed me that in light of recent developments in relation to petrol prices in Australia, namely the difference between international benchmark prices and the domestic retail price of petrol, the ACCC considered it appropriate to hold a price inquiry under Part VIIA of the Act.

The ACCC has recommended that the price inquiry be completed and a report submitted by 15 October 2007.

I have accepted the ACCC’s recommendation and directed it to commence immediately.

I am determined that motorists should have full confidence in the price they pay for petrol at the bowser. While it is well understood that the price of petrol is driven by a range of international price pressures, I want to ensure that motorists get the most competitive price when filling their vehicles.

The inquiry will consider a number of matters, including but not restricted to:

  • the current structure of the industry;
  • the extent of competition at the refinery, wholesale and retail levels, including the role of imports;
  • the determination of prices of each of these levels, including the methodology for determining wholesale prices; and
  • current impediments to efficient petrol pricing and possible methods to address them.

The inquiry is to be held pursuant to Part VIIA of the Act.  This brings with it a range of powers for the ACCC, including the taking of evidence on oath or affirmation, the ability to compel witnesses to appear before the inquiry, and a prohibition against witnesses refusing to answer questions when appearing before the inquiry.

MELBOURNE
15 June 2007

Contact:   Renae Stoikos - 03 9650 0244

Attachment:

The letter from the Chairman of the the ACCC and the inquiry direction are available for download as a Portable Document Format.