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by Tim Beissmann

The Federal Government is reportedly set to increase the fuel excise for the first time in more than a decade, forcing millions of Australian motorists to pay more for petrol.

ABC News reports next Tuesday’s Budget will include a change to the indexation of the fuel excise, which has stood still at 38.1 cents per litre since the Howard Government introduced the GST in 2001.

Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop said as recently as last month that the government had no plans to increase the excise, though the ABC now believes it will announce measures to re-index it next week.

It is unknown by how much the fuel excise may increase and whether the alleged increase will be a permanent one. Fairfax reports the price of petrol could rise by up to three cents per litre if the government goes ahead with the excise increase as expected.

Australian Automobile Association CEO Andrew McKellar today called on the government to rule out reports that the Budget could include an increase in the fuel excise.

“Any increase in fuel excise in this Budget would be unjustified,” McKellar said.

“Motorists already pay too much tax and are not getting fair value for money with only a fraction of fuel excise being returned to spending on transport infrastructure by the Federal Government.

“Any increase would break the government’s commitment to motorists, with no suggestion before the election that fuel tax would be increased. The government must be honest with motorists and confirm that there will be no increase in fuel tax.”

Fuel Pumps

NRMA president Wendy Machin also slammed the notion of an increase to the fuel excise.

“The Federal Government already collects more than it spends on roads and transport infrastructure, so there is absolutely no basis for this unfair tax hike,” Machin said.

“Last year’s budget estimated $15 billion would be collected from motorists from the fuel tax, however Federal Government expenditure on roads for the same period was estimated at $3.9 billion. In other words only 10 cents out of every 38.1 cents per litre collected as the fuel tax is actually spent on road infrastructure – that’s less than a third.

Machin said the price of fuel was one of the biggest concerns of NRMA members, and promised that their interests would be forcefully represented at a national level.

“Should next week’s Federal Budget reveal any potential increase to the fuel excise, the NRMA, which represents 2.5 million members, along with the other motoring clubs nationally, will step up their fight against any unfair and unjustified tax hikes on motorists.”




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