So the ACCC announced last week an inquiry into the sharing of petrol pricing information by the oil companies, and Coles and Woolworths.
Are we to be excited? Well, the motoring bodies came out and welcomed the announcement. A good thing you might say. The only problem is that their reaction is predictable. Sadly, the work of the motoring bodies in exposing the petrol industry games has been very patchy, which has let their members down very badly.
Some motoring bodies are consistently very good in going after the petrol industry games while others have been weak preferring to make motherhood statements rather than getting to the heart of the issue. The problem with the motoring bodies is quite simply that some of them are passionate advocates for motorists while others act more like those politicians who try to be everyone’s friend.
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In the iconic Kimberley region of West Australia one of Australia’s biggest recent environmental battlegrounds has emerged in the red cliffs and turquoise waters of James Price Point, about 20 km north of Broome. This is a battle that might ultimately be won in the investor board rooms rather than on the front lines of blockades.
The Browse Basin gas hub development has stoked up so much opposition on so many fronts that many investors are now asking if the project is still economically viable, or if in fact Woodside’s ‘social licence’ to proceed has disappeared in the red dust that graces the Kimberley coastline.
Australian business is all too familiar with the impact strident community opposition can have on controversial major projects, yet some large corporations and investors continue to discount the importance of maintaining their social licence and protecting the environment.