Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (12:53): I rise to support the Fair Trading (Fuel Pricing Information) Amendment Bill and note the government's strident efforts to improve the accessibility to real-time pricing in South Australia and to increase competition. I note the work of the Attorney and her officers in progressing this. We are trying to address the high and very variable cost of fuel because it is a real concern for most South Australian families, as has been outlined, especially when you are in a regional area like I am.
I represent from Pinnaroo almost through to Mount Barker, down to Clayton Bay almost to Mount Pleasant and up the river towards Nildottie and Walker Flat to the other side of Cambrai. My constituents are spread far and wide and they have many venues where they can access fuel throughout the electorate.
In regard to this, we have done our own research as a government because there has been mixed evidence from other states about fuel price monitoring. We note that the Productivity Commission has been involved, and has recently found from its own research that there were likely to be net benefits of $3 million to $8 million, and that to get the most benefit from this scheme pricing information must be accurate and comprehensive and motorists need to be able to act on it.
Using real-time pricing information can save motorists big money when they shop around for the cheapest price at the lowest point in the price cycle. It is interesting with price cycles; we notice it going into long weekends, for some strange reason—it must be that the world oil price goes up or something—when there is a demand with people going away, and that sort of thing. There are other cycles during the week, but with real-time price monitoring people can factor in when they should be buying their fuel.
As a government, we are very keen to encourage everyone to get involved, when this becomes available in various apps, so that people right across the state can get access to real-time price monitoring. We have got the best possible advice from the Productivity Commission and we are getting on with the job of relieving cost of living pressures. Real-time price monitoring will become a reality when this bill becomes an act and is assented to. As a government, we have committed to implement this as a priority, and that is exactly what we are doing with this. The design of the scheme will come through in the regulatory phase.
In terms of what fuel retailers will need to do in regard to this, they will need to report any pricing changes to a central database within 30 minutes of a change. There will be private apps that will be able to access this data for free, which is what has been successfully implemented in Queensland. Consumers can choose whichever app they like most but, importantly, they will all have accurate pricing information. I am sure my 19-year-old and 16-year-old boys will explain to me how to download the app and how it works and I will be fine, because they will be all over it.
Consumer and Business Services will take proactive steps to ensure that retailers are complying, and I understand there are significant penalties if people do not comply. The scheme is designed as a two-year trial to ensure the stated benefits of fuel price monitoring are met; we will certainly not support any policy if it is found that it tends to increase fuel prices.
There are many avenues to access fuel. I know there is talk about different so-called monopolies in this state, that there are some groups that link to the supermarkets, like Caltex and Shell both being linked to Woolworths and Coles. Obviously there is the On the Run group, the Peregrine or Sam Shahin group, that has built many service stations across the state. Some people will say that a certain person has a monopoly, but it is just not true; there are various big groups.
There are not as many total independents any more, although there have been various ones over time that have done a great job. There was one on South Road for a while there that had really—
The Hon. G.G. Brock interjecting:
Mr PEDERICK: Mick was it, Skorpos? He did a great job. I seek leave to continue my remarks.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
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