The ACCC is planning to visit Cairns next Wednesday (24 April) for discussions with local groups about petrol prices in Queensland's Far North.

The proposed visit is part of the Commission's inquiry into petrol prices throughout Australia. It is also holding a public hearing in Brisbane on Tuesday, 23 April.

The Commission is reviewing the current method used to regulate wholesale petrol prices across the country. It is also examining the disparity between metropolitan and rural 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.

Cairns is one of a number of provincial Queensland cities where pump prices are significantly higher than in Brisbane even though the maximum wholesale price is the same for all of them. Townsville and Rockhampton are similar cases. The cost of shipping supplies to these coastal cities does not explain the difference because this cost has already been absorbed in the maximum wholesale price.

The Commission is still trying to gauge the degree of local interest in the proposed visit to Cairns. For those wishing to participate in the discussions, arrangements can be made by contacting Gavin O'Brien on 1800 033 121.