Polling Shows Motorists Expect Tax Relief from High Petrol Prices


National opinion polling released by the motoring clubs of Australia today at the Australian Automobile Association annual conference reveals that the high price of petrol is by far the single most important concern of motorists and that they want the government to provide relief.


Twelve months ago, when asked to nominate the main issue of concern in similar polling, 25% of people nominated petrol prices. In polling of the same respondents in October this year, that figure jumped to 52% in capital cities and 56% in regional areas. The polling was conducted by ANOP and according to Managing Director, Rod Cameron, shifts of this magnitude are rarely seen in public opinion polls.


In presenting his findings, Mr. Cameron told a AAA Public Policy Forum in Brisbane that the Government needed to defuse the issue of higher petrol tax because it had now become too hot to be ignored.


The ANOP polling found that 33 percent of respondents were so price conscious that they were using supermarket discount vouchers to save themselves one or two cents per litre.


When asked what should be done to reduce petrol prices, 64 percent said the Government should reduce prices by cutting tax, 13% felt the oil companies should act, 10% nominated the OPEC countries and 10% nominated driving less.


When asked about the Government’s decision to increase road funding instead of cutting fuel tax, only 19 percent supported road funding with 68 percent insisting that petrol tax should be cut.


At a joint news conference after the release of the polling the motoring clubs renewed their call for a freeze on excise in February. The clubs had met in Brisbane at the AAA annual conference.


Speaking on behalf of the Clubs, AAA Executive Director, Lauchlan McIntosh said it was clear from the latest polling that the Government was misreading the situation by insisting that a 2 cent freeze in February wouldn’t make any difference.


"The Government seems to be concentrating on only one side of the coin. Politically, a freeze on the 2-cent indexation increase might not have a significantly positive effect for the Government but our polling shows that the other side of the coin, an increase in tax of 2-cents per litre, would have a significantly negative impact," he said.


"The polling also clearly showed that while road funding is important, motorists see the petrol tax issue as a separate and much more significant issue. The Government has a huge budget surplus and it is clear from our polling that motorists expect the Government to use some of that surplus to provide relief from higher petrol prices," he said.

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