Cost of Living
The claim that fuel is cheaper as a result of the Government's scheme is not correct and has been disputed by professionals in the industry. An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD] report that was released a year or so ago, a recent extensive Victorian parliamentary inquiry and a large number of industry bodies and experts have all told us the same message. Geoff Trotter, an industry expert with more than 30 years of experience, said:
All they tend to do as far as I can see is to provide a signal for retailers to know exactly what everybody else is selling the fuel for, and they don't have to collude on their price information anymore—they just look up the app.
Since those things have become predominant in the consumer market, they have had no real effect on the reduction on margins or in average lower prices for consumers.
The digital solution is just window dressing.
The parliamentary inquiry into fuel prices in Victoria said:
However, the available evidence suggests that fuel prices have not fallen in jurisdictions that have introduced mandatory fuel price reporting, and in some cases, prices have stabilised at higher levels.
That is why the Labor Party is so concerned. The OECD was concerned that mandatory schemes deliver "perverse outcomes". We should have a parliamentary inquiry to ensure that the Government scheme is delivering better, not worse, outcomes for motorists. Why would the Government not agree to do that if it is fair dinkum about wanting to reduce prices and help motorists in New South Wales? The compulsory third party [CTP] scheme is another area where the Government is being very cunning. People have found that the Government is rorting them through the CTP scheme. We have learned that the Government is slipping in a sneaky $10 administration fee. That is what I was told by Service NSW. According to the Government's own figure of four million motorists, that means that the Government will be pocketing approximately $40 million. That is outrageous. The people of New South Wales do not want to be rorted. It is outrageous that the Government is making people pay 10 bucks to get their money back.
Imagine if our utilities or water provider tried that one on and charged us ten bucks. But it gets much worse—the fee is not itemised on a person's account. That is deliberately sneaky because then no-one asks questions. If the big banks tried that one on we would ask for a royal commission. The big banks make the Liberal‑Nationals Government look like the tooth fairy. It is disgraceful that the Government is charging people ten bucks to get their money back. It is not stated anywhere on the official receipt from Service NSW and it is not listed anywhere on the website. It is a rort and people know it. The Government ought to fess up and give back to every single motorist the ten bucks. If the Government is serious about helping people and lowering the cost of living, it would put that ten bucks back into every pensioner's pocket. It gets a little bit worse though—if it is under 20 bucks, the person does not get anything back. For my mother, who is an aged pensioner, to lose 20 bucks is wrong. That is what this Government is doing. It is being sneaky and it is rorting the people of New South Wales.