Petrol retailers will be watched more closely by the competition watchdog with new monitoring and investigation powers.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been directed to provide quarterly rather than annual reports about petrol prices by federal Small Business Minister Bruce Billson.
It has also been given broader investigation powers, which take effect on Wednesday.
Mr Billson says the new ministerial directive would allow a closer examination of bowser prices, which fluctuate wildly across Australia.
‘We’ve seen even in capital cities as the price of oil’s come down, the price at the bowser has come down more quickly in some capital cities than others,’ he told ABC radio.
The ACCC will now be able “to peel back the onion” on how prices are set, he said.
‘We need to understand what’s at play there, examine whether there are any irregularities or any mischief at play,’ Mr Billson said.
‘Where there are some irregularities, something that seems not quite right and that’s to the detriment to motorists, we can have a closer examination of it.’