Canberra Connection with Justine Elliot

We need action on fuel prices now

This Easter we saw yet another spike in petrol prices on top of pump prices that are already ranging between $1.10 and $1.30. In fact over the past two years the annual cost of the average Australian familys fuel bill increased by a staggering $400. Its no wonder that family budgets are hurting when you consider the rising prices of other living expenses like telephone line rentals, healthcare and education. If something is not done and the current fuel prices stay as they are, then a typical Australian family will end up paying an extra $660 a year for fuel.

The Howard Government is completely out of touch with the effect of petrol prices on families. It continues to sit on its hands, claiming that nothing can be done. This is not much comfort to mums and dads who are breaking the family budget at the bowser each week.

Mr Howard must take action. He could easily direct Australias consumer watchdog, the ACCC, to start monitoring petrol price hikes. Only the ACCC can ensure that these oil companies pass on price reductions to consumers, especially in rural and regional centres like ours. Only the ACCC can reassure motorists they are paying a fair market price. Yet Mr Howard refuses to take action because his focus is on looking after himself and big business.

Australia also needs a federal government that is willing to develop longer term solutions to reduce Australias reliance on foreign oil. Federal Labor believes that Australia must become self-sufficient in fuel. We are developing strong practical measures that will fast-track a home-grown alternative fuel industry, making us less vulnerable to external price shocks. Labor in government will, through encouragement of innovation and tax initiatives, encourage the development of a gas to fuel industry using our massive natural gas reserves. Labor will also encourage the development of a bio-fuel industry using ethanol.

I believe Australians deserve a government that has a plan for the future and one that is willing to take action. As your Federal MP I will continue to fight for local families and fairer prices at the petrol pump.

Office contacts

Ph: 1300 720 675

Fax: 6277 5379

Address: PO Box 6996, Tweed Heads South, NSW, 2486


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