The ACCC inquiry into petrol prices heads to Queensland next week. The ACCC will hold a public hearing in Brisbane next Tuesday (April 23) and is planning to visit Cairns the following day for discussions with local groups.

The inquiry is reviewing the present method of regulating wholesale petrol prices in Australia. It is also examining the disparity between city and country prices and has been asked to recommend any measures that might sharpen competition in rural markets. The ACCC is scheduled to submit its report to the Commonwealth Government by July 31.

The inquiry is keen to gather more evidence on city/country price differences in Queensland and is seeking additional witnesses and/or submissions from Queenslanders with knowledge about some aspect of the industry.

Queensland should generally have the lowest petrol prices in Australia because, unlike other States, it does not impose a State tax on petrol. The Brisbane metropolitan market reflects that fact and has the lowest petrol prices in Australia. The same cannot be said for many Queensland provincial markets, even in those cities where the cost of freighting petrol to the local terminals is actually subsidised by Brisbane motorists.

For example, pump prices in Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton are significantly higher than Brisbane, even though the maximum wholesale price is the same for all of those cities.

Details of the Brisbane hearing are: Time: 10am, Tuesday, 23 April Location: The Cairns Room Sheraton Hotel 249 Turbot Street