Competition key to cheaper fuel in Mansfield
Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, is calling on residents in the Mansfield area to take action about the high fuel prices in the town. Ms McGowan will support the community to get answers about the constant high fuel prices motorists are paying in Mansfield.
“Mansfield residents have a right to know why prices are 20 cents a litre different to Wangaratta, and up to 25 cents different to metropolitan outlets,” Ms McGowan said. “Transport costs to truck fuel to Mansfield are estimated around 2-3 cents a litre. People in rural areas are prepared to pay slightly more for fuel, however when they feel they are being exploited they rightly want answers.”
Ms McGowan contacted the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to discuss the issue. The ACCC monitors fuel prices in Mansfield and acknowledges the prices are higher than most in regional Victoria. Direct complaints can also be made to the ACCC online at www.accc.gov.au/consumers/complaints-problems/make-a-consumer-complaint.
Responding to constituents questioning the high fuel prices in town, Ms McGowan encouraged them to take up a petition, calling for an explanation. The petition was started on Change.org via Facebook and attracted almost 300 supporters in two days.
Increased competition in the Mansfield fuel market would deliver cheaper fuel prices. Ms McGowan said there were solutions to bring competition into the market, including a social enterprise model which has been beneficial in another town in Indi.
“There are factors that lead to fuel being higher in small towns and competition is the most effective way to lower fuel prices at the pump,” Ms McGowan said.
“The Yackandandah Community Development Company has successfully operated a petrol station for years, and prices on average are slightly cheaper than Wodonga. The Yackandandah petrol station is community owned and a portion of the profits are directed back into community projects. I urge people in Mansfield to look at all options to get fairer petrol prices.”
Ms McGowan said competition is essential in rural and regional Australia.
“When it doesn’t exist we get caught with high prices and a lower standard of service,” she said.
The success of the Mansfield & District Community Bank Branch is another proven business model that delivers benefits from competition for locals. Since opening in 2007, the bank has contributed more almost $380,000 to the community and delivered dividends to shareholders in the last three years.