A new direction has been issued under section 95ZE of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to monitor the prices, costs and profits relating to the supply of unleaded petroleum products in the petroleum industry in Australia for the next three years.
I believe that competitive pressures alone are not sufficient to ensure efficient pricing and the protection of consumers in all retail fuel markets.
The new direction provides for the ACCC to produce more timely reports than its current annual fuel market review publication that contains detailed information on the petroleum industry and to target specific aspects of concern for closer examination.
Monitoring reports will now be produced quarterly to be more informative, responsive and able to identify areas of market concern or heightened interest for the community.
In addition, the new direction also empowers the Commission to undertake a ‘deep dive’ into specific markets or aspects of the fuel industry requiring closer and more specific examination. These reviews will target perceived irregularities in the fuel market or market dysfunction with potential detriment to motorists.
Under the new approach, the ACCC will conduct at least four investigations a year into specific geographic markets, specific products or other issues of concern. The particular focuses of these investigations will be determined in due course.
I have listened to the many concerns of Australian consumers and business regarding issues of pricing and margins, of supply impacts, and of the state of competition in particular markets and mysteries of fuel pricing.
This action is in response to legitimate community concern and the goal of ensuring efficient prices through healthy markets that function to the benefit of motorists.