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Punch demands answers on petrol prices

Headshot of Michael Philipps
Michael PhilippsSouth Western Times
Bunbury MLA Don Punch has called for answers to the city’s high petrol prices.
Camera IconBunbury MLA Don Punch has called for answers to the city’s high petrol prices. Credit: South Western Times

Bunbury MLA Don Punch has aired a grievance motion in Parliament about the high price residents pay for petrol compared with other parts of the State and South West.

Mr Punch voiced the grievance to Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston last week after the issue was raised by a Bunbury resident.

Mr Punch said he had investigated the price of petrol and found the cost in Bunbury was often above the cost in other regional centres.

“I have looked into this concern locally and was surprised to find that on that day, petrol was cheaper in Kalgoorlie, Manjimup, Busselton and Albany than it was in Bunbury, which is considerably closer to Kwinana,” he said.

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“Just in the South West it was also cheaper in Harvey, Margaret River and Augusta.

“On Wednesday, 16 May, FuelWatch showed that the cheapest unleaded prices in the area were Bunbury, 147.9c a litre; Manjimup, 144.9c; Busselton, 143.9c — definitely the place to buy fuel; Albany, 143.9c; and Kalgoorlie, 145c.

“On 15 August, Bunbury fuel was 146.9c and Busselton remained at 143.9c, so it is a consistent trend.”

Mr Punch said the people of Bunbury deserved an explanation for the price discrepancy.

“One would think it could not be transport costs, given that Bunbury is our second city and it is close to the main refinery at Kwinana,” he said.

“If there are valid reasons for the price discrepancy, so be it, but the people of Bunbury deserve an explanation and this price gouging has to stop.”

Mr Johnston said he did not know why there was a difference between Bunbury and surrounds.

“I have to make it clear that it is not the State Government that regulates the market and the competition between one retailer and another; that is done by the Commonwealth Government through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission,” he said.

“I think the ACCC should examine the reason that Bunbury has higher prices than surrounding communities.”

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