Fuel price disparity stirs concern

GLADSTONE residents continue to pay at least 10 cents a litre more at the pump than metropolitan areas and today the Queensland Impact of Petrol Pricing Select Committee will host a public meeting to address concerns.

Fuel prices in Gladstone hovered around $1.18 a litre last weekend while in Brisbane petrol was about $1 a litre.

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) found the differ-ence between regional and metropolitan pricings of petrol reached record highs in October.

The AAA compared the price differences in October 2005 with those of last year and found Gladstone residents were paying at least six cents more than their metropolitan counterparts than they were a year ago.

RACQ Central Queensland manager Bob Sim told The Observer in October major oil companies were treating regional Queensland motorists with contempt by refusing to pass on savings that could see fuel prices drop 10 to 15 cents.

Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham is one of the seven-mem-ber parliamentary committee established to identify the effect current fuel prices are having and practical ways consumers can reduce their petrol bills.

A Commerce Queensland sur-vey has found high petrol prices are affecting Central Queensland business profit levels with 35 per cent of business respondents reporting a decrease in profitability.

The committee will also examine the possibilities of alternative fuel sources.

A public meeting will start at Central Queensland University's Gladstone campus at 9am today to hear the community's concerns.

The committee will make recommendations to the Queensland Parliament by March 31, 2006.

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