PAGE 1 of The Daily Examiner on Wednesday.
PAGE 1 of The Daily Examiner on Wednesday.

Clarence petrol stations close

‘THE small guy gets smaller, the big guy gets bigger’.

This is the sorry truth being faced by country service stations across the Clarence, due to State Government regulations that many cannot afford to comply with.

Since Wednesday’s Daily Examiner report on the Wooli General Store owner’s decision to pull his pumps due to the legislation, which would have cost him $25,000, more affected service stations have stepped into the light.

The owner of Maclean Outdoors, Doug Jenkins, said the Protection of the Environment Operations (Underground Petroleum Systems) Regulation – which requires service stations install groundwater monitoring wells and meet other environmental planning and monitoring requirements – was one of the ‘contributing factors’ to him closing down his bowsers nine months ago.

“I’m sure there’s been a lot of service stations close because of the regulations,” Mr Jenkins said.

“It’s a bit of a shame for the community.”

Mr Jenkins said he believed the regulations would eventually see all small service stations shut their doors.

Brooms Head General Store owner Gary Mills said he could not afford the thousands of dollars it would cost to install the wells.

While Mr Mills was yet to be informed of the regulations by the Government since buying the store 18 months ago, he said from what he had heard and read that his fuel-supplying days could be numbered.

“They put these things in place and hit the little guys,” Mr Mills said.

“The small guy gets smaller, the big guy gets bigger.”

He said his store provided petrol as a service to the Brooms Head locals, as well as for the thriving holiday-maker population.

“It’s something they expect,” he said.

But Mr Mills said people could be forced to travel a 60km-round trip for fuel to Maclean if the regulations drove him out of the fuel trade.

He said the legislation had the potential to destroy his business, as a lot of his store custom was flow-on from petrol-buyers.

“It could close the whole shop, and we’re the hub of the town.”

The United service station at Halfway Creek has also recently shut down, however, the owner declined to comment to the Examiner.



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