Mayor Cr Justin King is proposing that the Council encourage the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to make Benalla Rural City a priority in its plans to examine the disparity in regional fuel prices compared to metropolitan areas.
Benalla Rural City residents are still paying around $1.29 a litre despite metropolitan drivers enjoying up to 40c per litre less in fuel prices. Petrol at some Melbourne pumps is below a $1.00 a litre.
While regional petrol prices have fallen somewhat, Benalla residents have not been enjoying the full benefit. Cr King says he has had many calls and face to face conversations with people who want to know why.
“This is not a local government issue, however people want me to advocate on their behalf about this apparent disparity of petrol prices in North East Victoria compared to metropolitan Melbourne and other neighbouring municipalities in regional Victoria,” he said. “Accordingly I will ask the Council to encourage the ACCC to look into the situation specifically in Benalla Rural City.
“The ACCC advises that where a regional market looks to be of concern, they will review recent price movements and structure of the market and may visit the town and talk to local retailers to determine if there is a need for further investigation,” Cr King said. “I will be asking them to do just that, and to make us a priority.
“I commend the Member for Indi Ms Cathy McGowan for approaching the Federal Government on this issue as well. I hope that our efforts will bring some fairness to the residents of Benalla Rural City, where public transport is not as readily available as in metropolitan areas, and where our rural residents have no choice but to travel long distances by car.”
Cr King will put his motion to approach the ACCC before the next Ordinary Council Meeting on 4 February. The motion also proposes that the Counci write to both Cathy McGowan, Federal Member for Indi, Steph Ryan, State Member for Euroa, and the State and Federal Ministers responsible for transport addressing the concerns of Benalla’s ratepayers.