Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, together with numerous grocery, retail and motor trade organisations have called for a temporary halt to ‘shopper docket’ fuel discount schemes.
The group has called for the moratorium until a report from the Australian Competition And Consumer Commission (ACCC) is complete, with the investigation lasting almost 17 months to date.
Speaking with Perth radio 6PR, Mr Xenophon said he believed ‘predatory’ fuel discounting was damaging the industry, saying “above all, for consumers, it’s a con”.
“When fuel discounts are being offered at 16, 20 and up to 45 cents a litre - which is way below cost price - it’s not just a discount, it’s a way of using massive market power to force smaller retailers out,” Senator Xenophon said.
“You might save five dollars at the petrol bowser, but you’re probably shelling out another ten dollars from your pocket in the supermarket to pay for it.”
“The shopper docket fuel discounts offered by Coles and Woolworths are out of control and an immediate moratorium would be most welcome to provide breathing space,” VACC Executive Director, David Purchase, said.
“When the discount offer on fuel was four cents per litre, and over a short period of time, it was one thing for independent service stations to deal with. But when the offer is 16, 20 and up to 45 cents per litre virtually all year round, it is quite another.”
Earlier this year, the ACCC expressed concern over competition in the industry however it is unclear at this stage when the ACCC’s report will be released.