Petrol station criticised for selling $48 pack of water amid bushfires

As desperate locals and holidaymakers in bushfire-affected areas try to get their hands on supplies, including groceries and fuel, a petrol station has been criticised for the price of its bottled water.

Photos taken at a petrol station, on the NSW south coast, and posted online appears to show a pack of 24 600ml water bottles with a handwritten sign denoting a price of $48.

“What a disgrace,” one shopper fumed as she posted a photo of the sign on a local community group on Facebook.

Some social media users were upset at the display.

A photo of a 24-pack of water bottles being sold for $48 at a petrol station sold on the NSW south coast.
A photo of a 24-pack of water bottles being sold for $48 at a petrol station has been shared online. Source: Facebook

However, as others pointed out, if the water bottles were being sold individually, they would be sold for $2 each, which works out to be the same price.

A similar post on another online community group, which claimed the bottles were 300ml, has since been removed.

It prompted a message sent out on Facebook from a person claiming to be the manager of the petrol station, which said it was all “a big misunderstanding”.

“An employee who works put a wrong sign [up]... we don’t sell 300ml Mount Franklin,” the person said.

“It is so disheartening that everybody thinks we are greedy... I can understand customers can be unhappy especially in this difficult time with the bushfires.”

The post did not dispute the $48 price tag.

A number of people remain stranded on the NSW south coast, waiting on fuel supplies to be shipped in and, in some cases, roads to be cleared and opened to allow people to get out ahead of what is expected to be a horror Saturday.

According to local MP Andrew Constance, fuel tankers have been given a police escort into Batemans Bay to resupply the area as people trying to leave queue for petrol.

On Wednesday, residents in fire-ravaged areas were urged not to panic buy or stockpile supermarket supplies with images showing lengthy queues at supermarkets.

Long queues outside Ulladulla Woolworths as people wait to stock up on supplies on Wednesday.
Long queues seen outside an Ulladulla Woolworths on Wednesday. Source: Twitter

Coles, Woolworths and Telstra make donations

Some of Australia’s biggest corporations have stepped up to help the firefighting effort and the volunteers who have spend months battling blazes.

A week ahead of Christmas, Coles announced it was donating more than $3 million in gift cards to more than 6000 rural fire brigades across Australia.

Stores have been shipping pallets of bottled water to nearby fire stations.

“Coles has been donating supplies of food and water and other essentials to emergency services and evacuation centres in fire-affected areas and supporting team members who have been volunteering to assist in fighting the fires,” a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.

In November Woolworths pledged half a million to Salvos bushfire support efforts and last week announced it will boost paid leave entitlements to four weeks for team members committed to rural fire services.

Coles workers loading up bottled water for rural fire services.
Coles workers loading up bottled water for rural fire services was posted online on Wednesday. Source: Facebook/Coles

Meanwhile this week Telstra announced it will pay the mobile phone bills of volunteer firefighters.

"Today we’re doing our part to thank our volunteer firefighters by providing them with free mobile bills over December and January," Telstra chief Andy Penn said.

"We want to do this to show our thanks to firefighters for their efforts in helping keep communities safe.”

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