OPINION: Public gassed over petrol

IT IS a hard slog for regional dwellers when we can't even get a standard petrol rate across all of Australia. Currently the comparisons are favourable for people in the Clarence Valley but rewind a week and Sydney was 10 cents cheaper.

Managing Director of HEH Australian Petroleum Consultancy Kevin Hughes chalks the fluctuation up to big supermarkets controlling the petrol prices by making themselves the standard bearers.

The ACCC cottoned on recently to the high discrepancies between metropolitan prices and regional prices but there is only so much the consumer body can do - and really not much of that is past naming and shaming.

Is it time that Australia developed a Petroleum Industry Ombudsman? A position much similar to the Telecommunications Ombudsman who can solely focus on ironing out the discrepancies and act on behalf of fed up consumers.

Australia must follow global trends when it comes to pricing oil because we are importing it from different places around the world. But it becomes tough for consumers when big corporations increase retail prices well beyond the global trend.

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