AU: Truck drivers launch petrol blockade : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

About 40 Victorian truck owner-drivers who say
high fuel prices are ruining business have begun a
blockade at three petrol refineries.

Sydney Morning Herald

-- spider (, September 25, 2000


Nando Times

MELBOURNE, Australia (September 25, 2000 7:28 a.m. EDT - Truck drivers blocked three fuel depots in Melbourne on Monday, marking the first protests in Australia targeting soaring fuel prices.

In another sign of unhappiness over the prices, farmers said they would demonstrate outside federal parliament next week. New South Wales Farmers' Association president John Cobb said farmers were increasingly angry at the high cost of fuel.

"The price of fuel is unsustainable for family farmers and is the hottest issue in the bush at the moment," Cobb said in a statement.

But Prime Minister John Howard said he would not bow to the protesters.

"Now it is a difficult issue, but it won't be solved by people imposing blockades," he told Sydney radio station 2GB. "You can't run a country on the basis of responding to threats of blockades."

Similar but more widespread protests crippled France and Britain earlier this month.

Unleaded gasoline has recently topped $2 per gallon in many parts of the country, compared to about $1.25 a gallon elsewhere. Truck drivers say that has resulted in the average cost of a trip from Melbourne to Sydney increasing by $165.

Jerry Brown-Sarre, spokesman for the protesters, said more than 300 tankers had been prevented from leaving the depots, and he warned that oil supplies could dry up in three to four days.

The blockading drivers, who are demanding an official inquiry into spiraling gasoline prices, have parked their trucks outside fuel plants owned by Mobil, Caltex and Shell. However, it was unclear what impact the blockade would have because it not supported by most truckers.

Australian Trucking Association chief executive Andrew Higginson said he did not expect any major groups to support the blockades.

"We need people sitting down around the table talking about solutions, not blocking other people's right to do their business," he told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

-- Rachel Gibson (, September 25, 2000.

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