A coalition of business and grocery groups has urged Prime Minister Tony Abbott to stop excessive shopper docket petrol discounting by the major supermarkets.

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The Independent Retailers of Australia group says the two national supermarket chains have resumed their misuse of market power now the federal election is over.

It has placed ads in the major newspapers to garner support for fairer competition.

“Prime Minister Abbott, we’re appealing to your new government to commit its support to ensure competition in the fuel and grocery markets is fair,” the ad says.

“As four organisations representing two million Australian businesses and the five million staff they employ, we implore you to ensure fair competition for the benefit of all retailers and consumers.”

Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said discounts of up to 40 cents a litre were now being offered by the major retailers.

They feared it would result in the death of independent petrol retailers, he said.

“The cross market subsidisation is exclusive to the major chains, which are misusing their market power. This needs to be addressed urgently through competition policy,” he said in a statement.

“We urge the new prime minister to move quickly to halt deep fuel discounting, as any discount of fuel above the traditional level of 4 cents per litre must mean fuel is being sold below cost.”

Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia chief executive Peter Strong said action needed to be taken before it was too late for independent retailers.

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