Life on the land in Australia


Gillard’s petrol tax vow

to be tested

04 Jul, 2011 06:53 AM

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says petrol will be exempted from the proposed carbon tax ”now and forever” and will not be included either in the fixed price period or when the emissions trading scheme kicks in.

But the Productivity Commission will examine how fuel excise can be shifted to the new tax, with an outcome that could force petrol prices up anyway after three years.

The Prime Minister said yesterday motorists would be spared from having to fork out more at the petrol pump as a direct result of the carbon tax she hoped to introduce next year. The major concession is not only a win for motorists, but also a success for Independent MPs Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott who argued for petrol to be exempted from the carbon tax.

”Families, tradies, small business people do not have to worry about a petrol price increase,” Ms Gillard said.

”Petrol prices will not be touched by carbon pricing.”

But while the Prime Minister insisted the exemption would not be a temporary measure, the Greens revealed that the Government agreed to have the Productivity Commission examine the whole fuel excise regime.

The Greens argued for petrol to be included in the carbon price from the outset but were outvoted during negotiations inside the multi-party committee on climate change.

Conceding yesterday that the party had to compromise on the issue, Greens deputy leader Christine Milne said fuel excise had to be changed to encourage people to use more environmentally friendly transport.

”We want Australians to drive less, and when they do drive, to drive more efficiently,” Senator Milne said.

”What we need into the future is a very clear and transparent signal to the public that there will be a price imposed on embedded energy and people can make decisions accordingly.

”This mish-mash of policies which sees subsidies and taxes working against each other needs to be changed. We need to restructure the fuel excise to reflect the fuel energy content of fuel.”

The Productivity Commission’s recommendations would be implemented in 2015, if approved by Parliament.

The Prime Minister also said self-funded retirees holding a Commonwealth health-care card would be treated similarly to pensioners with regards to the assistance they would get under the carbon tax’s compensation package for households.

But Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said the best way to protect struggling families from higher costs was to dump the carbon tax altogether.

Mr Abbott said the Prime Minister’s promise that motorists wouldn’t have to pay for an increase in fuel prices under the carbon tax couldn’t be believed.

”This is about as believable as her pre-election statement that there will be no carbon tax,” he said.

Full details of the carbon pricing regime are expected to be revealed within days, with almost all of the details having been negotiated and agreed among the members of the multi-party climate change committee.

July 5th, 2011
Topic: POLITICS PARLIAMENT, TAXES Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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