Macleay Island man calls out expensive fuel prices but independent retailer says shipping costs, island population have hamstrung business

A MACLEAY Island man says an absence of retailers running in competition to the only fuel station has become a major issue, with motorists being ripped off at the bowser.

MONEY GRAB: A Macleay Island says locals there pay too much for their fuel.

MONEY GRAB: A Macleay Island says locals there pay too much for their fuel.

Laurence Morey said he had been living on the island for almost six years and the price of fuel had always been about 40 cents per litre more expensive than the mainland.

But Neha Shah, who owns 5 Star on Macleay Island, said the price difference at the pump was due to the costs of shipping fuel to the island.

She said the business did not have the same buying power as the big retailers and would only purchase about 10,000 to 20,000 litres per fortnight.

"It is so expensive to bring it from the mainland to the island, that is the most important point that people are missing here," Ms Shah said.

"Even for a small truck to come across to the island it is about $180 to $200.

"The bottom line is that our prices, what we are buying or purchasing, are more than the mainland."

Mr Morey said he could accept paying an extra 20 cents to cover freight but it was hard to stomach a 40-50 cents per litre difference.

He said last week's unleaded petrol prices on Macleay Island were $1.45 and diesel $1.75, which was about 25-50 cents per litre more than the mainland.

"A lot of people are often complaining about what the price of fuel is here," he said.

"There is no competition because there is only one site."

Ms Shah said the business was not making any money off its petrol sales and could not compete with big retailers like Coles and Woolworths.

She said they were hamstrung by the island's population and size, with most people filling up their vehicles sporadically and with only a few litres each time.

"If I have a car and if every day I have to go to work on the mainland, from my home to the ferry terminal, it might only be a two or three kilometre trip," Ms Shah said.

"Most people only fill up with two, five or 10 litres to get around on the small island.

"The purchases are too small. If their purchases are too small, my purchases are small as well."

Mr Morey said people would fill up jerry cans with fuel on the mainland and take it back with them to avoid paying extra on the island.

He wanted island prices to be closer to those on the mainland but said he would be understanding if they were slightly higher to compensate for shipping costs.

Ms Shah said she would happily shut down the petrol station if it was not working out for the island community.

"If you could see our budget, if you could see our sales, it is very small," she said. "It doesn't make a difference on anyone's lifestyle.

"Overall, when you are spending $50 (on fuel) on the island, you might only spend $45 or $46 on the mainland.

"That same person is smoking every day with $40 or $50 worth of smokes, but they are not ringing there saying they want to save $3 or $4."

According to Petrol Spy, prices were $1.10 per litre at Victoria Point and Redland Bay today, while Macleay Island remained at $1.45.

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