News

Prime Minister Should Check His Figures

5.2.2001

The Australian Automobile Association has invited the Prime Minister to go back and check his figures before again claiming he cannot afford to pay for a road package and an excise cut. Association Executive Director, Lauchlan McIntosh, said that if the Prime Minister did check the figures he would find they didn’t add up.

 

Mr. McIntosh said the road package, while very welcome, was costing the Government $400 million per year while at the same time motorists were being slugged an extra $1.34 billion per year in fuel tax, most of it because of broken government promises.

 

"Since July last year, the Commonwealth fuel excise take has risen 3.6 cents (1.5 cents in July, 0.6 cents in August and 1.525 cents last week). There is also GST on the 3.6 cents taking the total tax take to 3.96 cents per litre or $1.34 billion in a full year," he said.

 

"The road package the Prime Minister keeps trying to hide behind gives back $1.6 billion over four years – in other words, $400 million per year, not a bad exchange from the Government’s point of view for $1.34 billion in extra revenue. The Government is making a $940 million dollar profit per year out of motorists on the deal.

 

"And much of that extra tax comes from the Government’s broken promise about petrol prices not rising as a result of the GST. Prices rose 1.5 cents in July because of the GST and they rose a further 1.1 cents last week, again as a direct result of the GST. Add 10% GST to the 2.6 cents in broken promises, and you have the Government picking up 2.86 cents per litre in extra tax or $972 million per year it has no moral right to claim.

 

"By continuing to refuse to provide relief to motorists the Government is showing just how out of touch it is with the real world. ANOP polling conducted for AAA late last year found that one in every three motorists uses supermarket discount vouchers to save one or two cents per litre on fuel. Yet despite this the Government continues to dismiss as unimportant a one or two cent reduction in excise.

 

"I would strongly urge Government backbenchers who are in touch with the real world, and who understand just how significant this issue is, to apply maximum pressure to their Cabinet colleagues to try to change their minds and reverse last week’s excise increase," Mr. McIntosh said.

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