Pain at the pump

There's no relief in sight for Tumut motorists.
There’s no relief in sight for Tumut motorists.

IT would appear the old saying that there’s only three certainties in life rings true in Tumut.

Death, taxes and paying the highest price in the state for fuel are things locals appear to have to put up with.

Is relief in sight for motorists in the wake of being charged on average the highest fuel prices in the state for the past 18 months? It seems unlikely.

NRMA Bowser Buster has rated filling up in Tumut as an expensive exercise despite other regional towns experiencing price fluctuations.

Local taxi operator, Graham Jeffery, cannot see the high prices letting up as he questions why the three local providers would drop prices when they are consistently charging the same high prices at the bowser.

“I don’t think we can do anything about the high prices,” Mr Jeffery said. “Kevin Rudd brought in Fuel Watch and it achieved nothing.

“We can’t do a thing. We can raise the issue time after time and jump up and down but nothing changes. The fuel companies are just too big.”

Travelling the local roads each day, Mr Jeffery would like to see the amount people pay for fuel in Tumut mirrored in the amount of work that is done on local roads, like Gocup Road.

The road he describes as a political football is a tragedy waiting to happen and could benefit from the extra money fuel revenue raises in Tumut each year.

Questioning how on earth fuel in Tumbarumba was up to nine cents cheaper than it was in Tumut recently, Mr Jeffery said why should Tumut motorists pay a great deal with no benefit.

“You don’t mind paying the extra for fuel if they put the money back somewhere locally,” Mr Jeffery said. “If it’s all coming from one refinery how can prices differ when it all comes out of the same tank?

“If we pay more, then more of the tax the government earns from this should go into fixing disgraceful roads like Gocup.

“Prices will never come down in Tumut because there is simply not enough competition.”

Regardless of the disgruntled motorists and the sales assistants that unfortunately wear the wrath of angry drivers when they come into the service stations to pay after fuelling up, there appears no end to high prices in sight.

Newly re-elected Federal MP, Michael McCormack, linked overall high petrol prices to the volatility that exists within the oil rich Middle East and where the Australian dollar sits.

“Unfortunately petrol prices are uniformly high,” Mr McCormack said. “Our fuel market is volatile, and for taxi and transport operators whose biggest cost is fuel, it makes it tough.

“If things were worked out on who pays the most gets the most, regional areas would benefit largely but that is not the way it works.”

Whilst Mr McCormack could offer no quick fix for the age old problem, he guaranteed he would continue to do everything he could to assist where he could and the issue would remain firmly on this radar.