NICK XENOPHON M.L.C.
NO POKIES MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
9 September 2005
Pokies MLC Nick Xenophon has challenged the State Government to use little-known
powers under the State’s Prices Act to demand answers from major oil companies, and if
necessary, to fix the price of petrol.
Under section 9 of the Prices Act 1948 the
Commissioner for Prices has sweeping
powers to force companies to open their books, to produce any documents and to
answer any questions either orally or in writing. Under section 10 the
Commissioner has the power to enter premises and to seize documents as part of
21 of the Prices Act gives the government the power to: “Fix
and declare maximum prices in relation to the sale of declared goods”,
with further powers to fix “differential
maximum prices” that “may apply
throughout the State or in specified parts of the State”.
Mr Xenophon said the Government should instruct the Commissioner to give an “ultimatum” to oil companies to “open their books and explain within fourteen days why the price of crude oil has gone down, but the price of petrol at the bowser keeps going up".
Mr Xenophon said “any inquiry carried out by the Commissioner should also demand answers from Exxon-Mobil, the owners of the mothballed Port Stanvac Oil Refinery as to their intentions on the plant, and to establish the impact of petrol prices if the Port Stanvac facility was re-opened”.
are many industry insiders who believe the government was a mug when it signed
up to allow Mobil to mothball it’s plant for at least three years without
giving a commitment what its long-term plans would be. This is a company that
has made over $32 billion dollars
in 2004 in profits worldwide.”
“Industry insiders tell me that re-opening
the Port Stanvac storage facility of 500 million litres would have a dramatic
effect on stabilising and keeping fuel prices down. Given that
“The legal advice that I have received this morning from a barrister
that specialises in Trade Practices law is that the Prices Act does not fall
foul of the Commonwealth’s Trade Practices Act – indeed section 51 of the
TPA specifically allows for State laws such as the Prices Act to operate in the
context of the Trade Practices Act.”
Mr Xenophon also challenged the Premier to act quickly using the sweeping
powers of the Prices Act to protect consumers. “Motorists
are currently under siege with petrol prices – that is why it is appropriate
to use the sweeping post war-time powers under the Prices Act”.
“My challenge to the Premier is that if you can take on outlaw
motorcycle gangs, it is about time you took on big oil companies that countless
motorists feel they are being fleeced by”.
Mr Xenophon foreshadowed that introducing a resolution in State Parliament
calling on the State Government to use powers under the Prices Act to force oil
companies to open their books, and to introduce legislation to force the
re-opening Port Stanvac’s fuel storage facility.
and authorised by Nick Xenophon, 653 Lower North East Road, Paradise, SA 5075
Written and authorised by Nick Xenophon, 653 Lower North East Road, Paradise, SA 5075