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VACC Welcomes the End of the National Fuelwatch Scheme

November 14th, 2008

As a long standing opponent of a national Fuelwatch scheme, VACC is pleased the proposal has been rejected.

The legislation has been defeated in the Senate.

“While the Government may decide to re-introduce the proposed scheme at a later date, for now, the message is clear. Fuelwatch is finished,” VACC Executive Director, David Purchase said.

“This is a victory for common sense. The national Fuelwatch scheme was flawed from the outset. It would not have saved motorists money. In fact, it would have resulted in higher petrol prices.

“VACC has always maintained that Fuelwatch was an unnecessary diversion in the fight for cheaper fuel prices. As the peak automotive industry body in Victoria, VACC has campaigned against Fuelwatch since it was first proposed earlier this year.

“VACC, and members of its Service Station and Convenience Stores Division (SSCSD) held a meeting with the then ACCC Petrol Commissioner, Mr Pat Walker, to outline our concerns.

“In August, VACC made its submission to the Senate Economics Committee, on behalf of independent service station owners in Victoria and Tasmania, stating it was ‘opposed to regulation of prices in the retail fuel market that will handcuff retailers and will not introduce greater transparency to the wholesale supply of fuels’.

“Fuelwatch was flawed because it targeted retail fuel prices. The only way to ensure cheaper fuel prices is to allow independent service station operators fair and equitable access to competitive fuel supply at the terminal gate. The wholesale market is all-but wholly in the hands of the big oil companies.

“VACC believes the proposal by the Service Station Association (SSA) to force the oil majors to share port facilities with competing importers will introduce greater competition at the wholes level.

“VACC recommends the ACCC and the new Petrol Commissioner, Mr Joe Dimasi, turn their attention to the operation of the wholesale fuel market, the buy/sell arrangements and the relationship between the oil majors and their supermarket partners,” Mr Purchase said.

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