Watchdog on Petrol Cost Up Until Easter

by : Dwyane Thomas

The price of petrol will be closely watched by the Australia's consumer watchdog over this Easter.

Any evidence of price fixing will be dealt with. Treasurer Peter Costello has tasked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to monitor the prices at local market to lessen price fixing. The said commission is allowed to prosecute anyone who will be practicing the fixing of the prices. This should be a great warning for all those who plan to take advantage of the situation since the ACCC is known for successfully prosecuting said offenders and have in fact achieved large amounts of fines against them.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is an independent statutory authority established in 1995, this is due to the merging of the Australian Trade Practices Commission (TPC) and the Prices Surveillance Authority. They serve as the commonwealth governmental body that aims to protect the consumer rights, business rights and obligations and perform industry regulation and price monitoring. They are also responsible for preventing unauthorized anti-competitive behavior. They administer the Trade Practices Act of 1974 and the Prices Surveillance Act of 1983. They are the only national agency dealing generally with competition matters. As a whole, the ACCC covers all unfair market practices, merges or acquisitions of companies, product safety and liability and third party access to facilities of national significance.

This measure of petrol price watching is brought about by the observations that come Easter time and all other holiday periods; the prices of petrol traditionally rise. These petrol price hikes always happen during the holiday periods and the consumer-motorists are starting to become agitated.

To further give the assurance that there will be no form of price fixing or any form of price hikes on petrol products, one of the oil giants, Caltex - through its chief executive - has proclaimed that the concept of holiday petrol price hikes will only be a thing of the past. Furthermore, Caltex spokesperson Richard Beattie, said that the claims of profiteering during holiday seasons are simply not true. He added that there is new data to prove that the price cycle has always behaved in an "up now, low later" manner, whether it be Easter or not. He denies any form of price gouging.

These statements made several eyebrows rise and they commented that motorists are going to pay the price of the "non-increase" through Easter and through school holidays. According to the recorded figures last, there was no jump immediately before Easter, but there was a 13 cent leap only ten days before. There were no reports as to the prices of automobile parts like the , whether they were affected or not.