The Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) says the rampant rise in the cost of fuel affects all Australians, and yet, there seems to be little sign of any relief.
This week, both Federal Parties, Labor and Liberal, were divided on how best to tackle the issue.
“VACC is concerned that there are few answers coming from Canberra. Where then, motorists might ask, is a considered resolution going to come from?” VACC Executive Director, David Purchase, said.
“While VACC acknowledges that the prime reason for rampant pump prices is the rising cost of oil on world markets, there are certain obvious measures, which if taken immediately, would go some way to reducing costs for road-users,” he said.
VACC says that on the question of competition, the oil companies and their supermarket alliance partners have nearly total vertical control of the market, and their “comfortable oligopoly,” as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) refers to it, must be broken.
VACC contends that oil companies, through their supermarket partners, are attempting to remove independent operators from the market through predatory pricing practices, to gain total market control. The ACCC must act to stop predatory pricing.
It says supermarket shopper dockets are a con. Few motorists can now believe that they are not paying for the so-called ‘discount’ through the supermarket check-out. This con must be exposed by the media.
Taking up a growing call the VACC says; “GST on the excise component of petrol is indefensible and counter to the former Howard and Costello Government’s pledge when it introduced the 10% ‘Goods and Services Tax’ in 2000. This tax-on-a-tax must be abolished which will save motorists nearly four cents a litre.”
VACC questions the relevance of world parity pricing in the current distorted world market where speculators are in large part responsible for the record barrel prices. It is time that world parity pricing was reviewed.
It also says the $2000 vehicle rebate for LPG fitment must be maintained until 2014 as planned. Australia’s local vehicle manufacturers would have a clear market advantage if LPG was designed to fit integrally into more of their locally produced models, and fitted at the production stage.
Finally it says the Victorian Government must introduce new road safety initiatives to make it safer for commuters to choose two-wheeled vehicles.
“To achieve this, VACC proposes a designated system of “Safe Routes” with safety boxes, access by scooter riders to particular identified bicycle lanes on some city arterials, boxed turns on certain busy intersections, and initiatives to improve road-sharing practices by drivers.
“VACC agrees with the Prime Minister’s assertion that there is “no silver bullet” to solve the high fuel prices.
“However, we can’t simply throw our hands up. Australians, Australian business, and the economy, relies very heavily on road transport.
We must take some creative solutions if the price of fuel is not to cripple the country,” Mr Purchase said.