October Petrol Prices Highlight Need for Petrol Price Relief


Figures released today by the Australian Automobile Association show petrol prices stabilised during October.


The latest petrol price monitoring figures show that in most centres prices moved by less than one cent during the month and that the majority of motorists in regional Australia continued to pay one dollar or more per litre for unleaded fuel.


The Executive Director of the AAA, Lauchlan McIntosh, said the continued high fuel price again highlighted the urgent need for the Government to provide some relief for motorists.


"High fuel prices hurt those in the greatest need. Motorists on lower incomes tend to drive older, less fuel efficient cars, often using more expensive leaded fuel," he said.


"The motoring clubs have been asking the Government for three things:


  • a freeze on excise in February,
  • a review of the fuel tax system, and
  • additional long-term funding for roads.


While we’re pleased about the road-funding program pre-empted by the Prime Minister, it needs to be taken in the context of how much extra the Government is collecting from motorists and how far behind road funding has slipped.


"If the Government persists with the February indexation of fuel, motorists will then be paying five cents per litre in tax more than they were before the introduction of the GST. Five cents per litre gives the Government an extra $1.5 billion dollars per year in revenue, plus the estimated $1 billion windfall the Government will receive from the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax.


"It will be interesting to see how much of this additional revenue from motorists the Government is willing to commit to road funding programs. Particularly as the Government’s own Transport Department gave evidence to a parliamentary inquiry (The Neville Inquiry) that road funding has been falling behind by $300 million per year.


"The roads package needs to provide $1.2 billion to catch up for the past four years plus at least $300 million per year in additional funding just to maintain the roads.


"I’d also urge the Commonwealth to look at overseas trends where Governments in Europe and North America are committing huge resources to infrastructure renewal. In Britain, for example, the Government has announced a ten-year, A$560 billion infrastructure renewal program," Mr. McIntosh said.

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