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Journeys : Dec2011 Jan2012
HOWRAHNOTGNINROMHOBARTKRAPYNSOR FROM TASMAN HWY boards; some have prices on their price boards that are out of date; and many others don’t have price boards at all. Currently only NSW and Wester n Australia have any legislative regulations regarding fuel price boards. Even in those two states, the regulations are not particularly comprehensive and in the view of Australia’s motoring clubs, do not sufficiently ser ve the interest of consumers. The R ACT and our sister clubs interstate have agreed that we will push to see regulation imposed at a Commonwealth level in order to set uniform standards across all states and territories, consistent with the Federal Trade Practices regulatory regime. In particular, the motoring clubs believe that the Trade Practices (Industry Codes - Oil Industry Code) Regulation 2006 (part of the Federal Trade Practices Act 1974) should be the avenue for federal inter vention. “The Code should make price boards compulsor y across Australia, but there should also be flexibility to take into account a lead-in time for implementation, and prov isions for small, rural retailers,” says the R ACT’s Vince Taskunas. “In recognition of the fact that some outlets may have recently invested significant funds on price boards that do not meet the requirements we’d like to see introduced, the RACT supports a five year phase-in period for the regulatory changes. “Under terms determined within the regulations, retailers in smaller rural locations or those who demonstrably sell very limited amounts of fuel would be exempt from this regulation,” Mr Taskunas says. When is a rule not a rule? The Southern Regional Advisor y Committee has discussed what committee members termed ‘unofficial, local road rules’ in places where sometimes the official road rules give way to local customs of road use. An example is the McDonalds roundabout at K ingston, where the road width allows for division into two lanes (one heading left and one straight ahead) even though it is marked as only one lane. As committee members agreed, these ‘unofficial road r ules’ might be convenient to drivers who know the area well and drive there often, but can be a trap for visitors. Concer n was also raised about the state of the Tasman Highway, particularly between Murdunna and Taranna. A wet winter has affected the pavement and the committee heard that repairs need to be done. The committee expressed continuing frustration about the Mornington Roundabout on Hobart’s Eastern Shore (right). This long-running issue has prompted consideration of new initiatives by the Committee to encourage DIER to under take remedial work. Following constant complaints from the public, committee members have described the busy roundabout as dysfunctional. The latest meeting heard that some motorists have even changed their travel patter ns to avoid it! Fuel price boards What the RACT wants • Fuel price boards should be compulsory at all automotive fuel retailers • Fuel retailers should display the prices of all automotive fuels being sold at that site, and if a particular fuel is out of stock then that fuel price should not be displayed • Retailers should display the exact and current prices of all automotive fuels sold at that site and these prices should not be inclusive of any ‘shopper-docket’ or similar over the counter discount offers which may be redeemable by individual customers at the time of purchase • Pr ice boards should display fuels in an agreed order follow ing consultation with representatives of the fuel retailers and all such fuels should be named in a standard manner to allow motorists to clearly understand and compare prices based on comparable fuel types • Price boards should be clearly visible at all times the fuel retailer is open for business. This would entail that fuel price boards not be obstructed in any way, would display the pr ices with digits at least 50 centimetres in height and a minimum of two metres off the ground, so that they are visible at 200 metres distance for someone with 20/20 vision, and have lighting to illuminate prices when the outlet is open at night (as a rule of thumb, they should be lit when streetlights are on) Fuel is one of the main components of motoring costs. Yet when the petrol gauge on your car dips, how do you know how much you will pay when you pull in to a service station? The R ACT has long been critical of the lack of pricing information available to motor ists. Some Tasmanian service stations give a clear indication of prices on their price In our community December 2011 / January 2012 9
Oct Nov 2011
Feb March 2012