Petrol Station Duopoly – Letter to the Editor

On a recent stopover in Coonabarrabran, I saw a more disturbing face of Coles and Woolworths (C&W inc) dominating petrol sales, than your concerns about the eyesore and blight that they are on country towns.

A cash strapped council,  seduced by much needed rates, allowed the C&W duo into the town, to ’’create jobs, and be good for the town”.

The local independent service stations were soon forced out of business.

The price of fuel in that town is now 30c plus per litre more than in any nearby town. I filled my car in Gunnedah for 31.9c less per litre.

The duopoly is the talk of the town, with local pollies and newspapers raging at the unfairness and obvious price fixing.

My latest info is that the practice continues with C&W not bothering to reply to the many requests for an explanation.

Even if this example of corporate contempt is eventually corrected, it clearly demonstrates the ethics and ultimate intention of C&W to the Australian business community, in relation to their real attitude to their customers and suppliers.

Given the ability to let their business dominate your town, and take business profits from local businesses, and send them  off to boardrooms in Melbourne etc, I believe the potential damage to Wingham, or other towns being similarly targeted, is far more damaging than even coal seam gas mining.

Every suburb in our larger cities has a shopping centre with Coles, Woolworths, MacDonalds, KFC etc.

Now every country town in Australia is destined to become a clone of these shopping centres, taking a large part of that town’s income off to boardrooms in other cities, and leaving the towns with a computer generated, homogenised identity.

Unfortunately these empires have a very powerful weapon for getting their wishes fulfilled.

Simply by appealing to the greed of short term authorities, looking for short term answers to problems such as employment, these elected authorities only have to survive for a few years in office, to get the lifetime golden handshake.

David Blakeway


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