Just 'serve us right' with a nice price discount
COUNCILLORS are using their approval of a third service station and shop on Eumundi Noosa Rd to prime local "servos” for competitive fuel discounting.
It is a phenomenon which cash-strapped Noosa motorists have seen little of over the years, despite fuel drops north and south of the shire border.
Puma at Peregian has offered a ray of hope by offering RACQ member discounts for cheaper fill-ups. Noosa lower fuel price campaigner Cr Jess Glasgow, who has complained to the ACCC about the lack of local pricing competition in the fuel industry, said he was keen to see new operators make a positive entry into the local market by offering regular fuel discounting.
During council debate Cr Glasgow said: "Everyone knows how I love lower fuel prices.
"I'll make these bastards have the lowest price in Noosa.”
He said in other parts of the Sunshine Coast where discounting occurred, cars were lined up wanting to fill their tanks.
Councillors have been told Freedom Fuels would operate the fuel outlet.
Cr Joe Jurisevic said despite attracting negative media, this was a "no brainer” for him to approve.
"I don't have any issue with this application whatsoever. It's appropriately zoned, it's in an industrial area for this type of activity,” he said.
"Where else would it be appropriate?”
He said in the 18 years he has been in Noosa the shire has had only a net gain of one service station.
"We've lost two and gained three. Everybody complains about the price of fuel, but the only way we're going to get the price of fuel to reasonably come down is (offer) the one thing that everybody says doesn't exist in Noosa. And that's to provide competition. That's exactly what this will do,” he said.
Cr Jurisevic said Puma had shown that price competition could exist in Noosa as they regularly provided competitive prices.
Cr Frank Pardon said: "We might drive down the price of petrol and actually help our citizens as well.”
Mayor Tony Wellington said residents had sent many emails to the council about the lack of a perceived need. for this servo.
"In order of us to refuse it on the basis of need, there would need to be a very strong case that overrides the planning scheme, and unfortunately that case can't be made,” he said.
"If we were to refuse this application there's a good chance that we would end up in an appeal situation in the Planning and Environment Court under circumstances by which we would not be able to defend our decision.”
Cr Wellington cited a recent appeal court decision that overturned a Gold Coast Council refusal of a service station based on a lack of need.
"Appeals are never easy and obviously we don't like wasting residents' money, so I support this application even though I have some concerns whether or not there is demonstrable need for another service station in this location,” the Mayor said.
Cr Ingrid Jackson said council did not have much choice.
"Really in effect, we as council have no option but to approve,” she said.
The councillors insisted on conditions to soften the appearance of the service station with additional landscaping and stipulations on building materials and colours.