Compensation for motorists affected by Bad Gas

Andrew Wheatley
Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, addresses the House of Representatives on October 25.

The Government has commenced discussions with petroleum marketing companies and other players within the industry regarding compensation for motorists who were affected by contaminated gas last year.

This was disclosed by Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, in a statement to the House of Representatives on October 25.

Dr. Wheatley said while the final report on the contaminated petroleum faulted no particular entity or individual, the Government supports the position of compensation.

“The results of the analysis came back inconclusive as to the cause of the contaminant and also to lay blame to any particular party,” the Minister said.

“I must also add that the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) was a part of the Petroleum Trade Reform Committee (PTRC), and one of the recommendations coming out of this particular deliberation was for compensation,” he added.

Dr. Wheatley further noted that the figure which was calculated by the CAC was $60 million.

“It is a matter that we still support and we are in dialogue with the marketing companies and the other players within the industry to see, even though they are not to be blamed, that as a goodwill gesture we put forward some form of compensation package,” he said.

In the meantime, Dr. Wheatley said several recommendations have been made by the PTRC, which was appointed in January of this year to investigate reports of substandard petrol in the local market.

He also noted that the PTRC was required to make recommendations with respect to the protection of the integrity of the petroleum trade, optimum maintenance of standards, new protocols, legislative amendments, and the adequacy of penalties for offences under the Petroleum (Quality Control) Act and Regulations.

He said the final report of the Committee, which was submitted to Cabinet on May 5, 2016, offered numerous recommendations that call for legislative and non-legislative measures.

It also called for the re-establishment of a Petroleum Inspectorate as a department under the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, to regulate, oversee and monitor the petroleum sector.

Leader of Opposition Business in the House, Phillip Paulwell, said the Opposition “supports compensation for those persons who suffered”.

He said the recommendations of the PTRC “will enable a far better system than we now have, and so we commend the Government and hope that it will be effected and promulgated speedily”.