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Wednesday, 29 April 1987
Page: 1984


Senator MESSNER —I address my question to the Minister for Finance. I refer to his answer to Senator Chaney's question asked earlier. Did the Minister say that the former Government imposed an excise on distillate used on farms? Did he fail to mention that there was a concurrent equal rebate given by the former Government, thus offsetting the effect of the excise and adding no cost in net terms to the farmer? As this is clearly wrong, will the Minister check his answer to the question? Why did the Minister mislead the Senate? Will he acknowledge that the only extra unrebated charge for diesel fuel excise was imposed by the Hawke Labor Government when excises were indexed in the Labor Budget in August 1983?


Senator WALSH —As I thought I might get a question such as this, I have some information with me. The 1982 Budget Papers, page 243, I think, of Paper No. 1-I am not certain of that-states that the exemption from excise duty of diesel fuel for all off-road use will be abolished. It does, it is true-Senator Messner is right-go on to state that a rebate will be paid to some users but the exemption from excise itself was abolished. There was a simultaneous announcement of the establishment of the Australian bicentennial road development program which imposed an additional excise of 1c a litre which was to increase to 2c a litre on 1 July 1983. I will check the rest of this, but my recollection of it is that Mr Howard did not complete the action which was required for the rebate of that additional Australian bicentennial road development excise. That situation was allowed to continue by the Government. I will check that out.