Home' InDaily : September 18th 2009 Contents • Full time, competitive base plus super & vehicle
• Great company and team environment
• Excellent opportunity to progress into management
The Siemsen Group is looking for a motivated and experienced Building
Estimator/Supervisor to help establish our new Adelaide region.
Residential, commercial, insurance and/or facilities management industry
If you are interested in achieving job satisfaction and leading the Adelaide
region, visit our website to Þnd out more about us and what we do
(www.siemsen.com.au) or send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please contact Kristine Albert in
Human Resources with any enquiries
on 1300 SIEMSEN
• Are you looking for ongoing work and a steady cashflow?
• Would you like to spend less time quoting and more time
• Are you looking to expand your business and gain access to
a great support network and exclusive offers from
We are a national insurance building group looking for great trades around
Australia to carry out residential building repair work
If you have outstanding quality, great customer service and up to date
compliance and insurance then we want YOU
Joining us is simple -- visit our website
at www.siemsen.com.au, click on the
contractors' link and Þll in some
information about yourself
We have plenty of work waiting for
you so contact us today!
Constr uction Ser vices
Super visor/Estimator wanted Calling all Trades
September 18 - 24, 2009
5The Independent Weekly
Oil prices are at their lowest
in years and the Australian
dollar is strengthening
against the greenback -- conditions
are perfect for Australian motorists
to be enjoying low petrol prices.
Instead, prices remain higher
than they were at the height of the
global financial crisis. Many drivers
are asking why they aren t seeing
price relief at our petrol stations.
Could these high prices be the
beginning of a new trend?
Fingers are being pointed at the
lack of competition and, as in the
grocery sector, this lack of competi-
tion is blamed on the emergence of
two industry giants.
Woolworths and Coles opened the
petrol station arms of their empires
in 1996 and 2003 respectively. Since
then, Woolworths has opened more
than 500 outlets while Coles has
amassed more than 600 sites.
Their rapid spread has coincided
with a decrease in the number of
independent petrol stations, and the
few that are left are struggling to
Survival is tougher than ever,
according to the owner and operator
of the Southern Cross service
station in St Peters, Tony Tanious.
"The more of those places they
open up, the less business we see
coming into our store," Mr Tanious
said. "I have five brothers who all
have petrol stations across Adelaide
and we are all suffering."
The introduction, at first by
Woolworths and then matched by
Coles, of the discount fuel offer
scheme helped push the spread
of the grocery chain-turned-fuel
outlets across the country.
Today, the two companies enjoy a
share of more than 40 per cent of the
Service Station Association CEO
Ron Bowden believes this market
dominance will be the death of the
"Most independent networks
have seen their volumes reduce by
between 20 and 40 per cent since the
supermarkets came in, and that s
not viable," Mr Bowden said.
The volume dominance of the
supermarkets also means they
command cheaper wholesale prices
from the big oil companies.
"The oil companies say we can t
afford to give a decent discount
to the little guys because all our
available discounts are going to the
supermarkets," Mr Bowden said.
The wholesale price disparity
means independents are forced to
charge more to make a profit, which
leads to many failed businesses.
"The oil companies sell the fuel
at maybe two or four cents a litre
cheaper to them. It s not fair that
just because they buy millions of
litres they get it cheaper. We just
can t compete," independent owner
Mr Tanious explained.
For years, the power of the
supermarkets has allowed them
to undercut their competitors and
sell cheap petrol, benefitting the
But experts warn that if the
independents disappear, so, too, will
the discounted fuel.
"Independents are the lifeblood
of competition in petrol retailing,
and their survival is essential if
Australian motorists are going to
continue to enjoy the deep levels of
discounting that they have become
used to," said Mr Bowden.
Mr Tanious believes the heavy
discounting tactics of the super-
markets are part of a more sinister
"They don t just discount price for
their customers, they do it to kick
us out. But if we leave the market,
even if they get their fuel cheap
from suppliers, they will not pass
that onto the customers. That s their
plan," he said.
"If we leave, then I think you will
see petrol at $1.70 or $1.80 a litre,
maybe even $2."
The stagnant price of fuel over
recent times seems to bear out Mr
Tanious s warnings.
"We are starting to see it in some
areas. They are starting to not
pass it on because people still pay
because that s their only close petrol
station," he said.
The Australian Competition and
Consumer Commission (ACCC) was
called in to investigate a discounting
scheme launched by the supermar-
kets in July which saw them offer
reductions of up to 40 cents a litre
when customers spent more than
$300 in their grocery stores.
But the ACCC Petrol
Commissioner Joe Dimasi ruled
the discounts to be all in the name
of competition and of benefit to
Ron Bowden believes it is exactly
these kinds of schemes that will
spell the end of the independents.
"These supermarkets can afford
to offer these discounts and operate
at a massive loss because they make
their margins elsewhere and they
know it will pay off in the end," he
He is calling on the Government
to implement wholesale pricing
legislation which would ensure any
price offered to the big players is
available to the small independents.
"The independent model is the
most efficient system and if they
have access to the same price fuel as
the supermarkets, they can survive
and drive competition."
Industry experts agree that the
best long-term outcome for consum-
ers is a healthy, competitive fuel
market that includes independents.
The RAA s policy and research
manager, Evan Knapp, believes
the Government must stop the
"The key for us is to make sure
there are a large number of players
in the fuel market that all have
significant market share and there
are not one or two dominant forces,"
Mr Knapp said.
Christopher Zinn, from consumer
group Choice, believes that while
most people are very price-sensitive
when it comes to petrol, they also
appreciate the individual service
that independents provide.
He is urging all consumers to
support independent retail outlets
in all sectors.
"Where the independents can t
always compete on price, they can
compete on providing superior
service and we d encourage them to
Mr Bowden offered a dire warning
for the future if people don t support
their local independent outlets.
"If customers continue to
abandon independents they will
lose because eventually if you re
only left with supermarkets, guess
what? Prices will go up, sure as night
Threat to petrol independents
Tony Tanious: "They do it to kick us out."
Photo: Joel Dry
With the move by grocery goliaths into Australian petrol retailing, competition at the bowser isn't all it
seems. As Joel Dry reports, the days of independent retailers may be dying.
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