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Rail industry supports farmers on diesel fuel rebate

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1 9 / 0 5 ’ 99 WED 1 3 :3 9 F A I 61 3 6 6 1 4 5 5 1 4 AUSTRALASIAN RAILWAY ASC @ 0 0 2


19 May 1999 RO Box 266 Colins St West

P R 99.09

MELBOURNE VIC 8007 Ph: (03)9614 5162

Fax: (03)9614 5514

R A I L ^ I N D U S T R Y S U P P O R T S F A R M E R S O N D I E S E L F U E L R E B A T E

Australia’s rail industry peak body added its support for reduced transport costs for farmers and rural communities as a way of boosting the flagging rural economy and the future of rural families.

Executive Director of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) John Kirk, said that removing diesel fuel excise from rail will not only ease pressure on the road system from heavy trucks, it will directly benefit Australia’s exporters and rural producers through lower transport costs.

“For Australia’s producers of wheat and other grains that means a saving of $40 million per year in-transport costs - an important boost at a time when rural communities need it most” said

At present the GST package cuts diesel fuel excise for road and rail operations to 18 cents a litre, and gives off-road business users a full credit of diesel fuel excise.

The ARA - which represents more than 125 public and private rail operators, manufacturers and suppliers to the rail industry - said the current policy under the GST reform package discriminated against rail, which should be recognised as an off-road user, said Mr. Kirk.

“As the NFF told Prime Minister John Howard in Longreach yesterday, the Government needed to recognise the value of support for regional infrastructure to assist rural producers and communities” he said. *

Extending the off-road user status to rail will directly benefit rural Australia. Already rail pays track access fees amounting to between 20% and 30% of current rail operating costs, and now under the GST measures, rail will still have to pay 18 cents a litre on top of these charges as though it too was using the road system. This will cost grain producers a potential saving of

$20 million per year.”

“By any definition, rail is an off-road user and the 18 cents a litre should not apply to rail operators.”

“Our case has been supported by the Industry Commission which in 1994 found that complete removal of diesel fuel excise from rail would result in a net increase in Australia’s GDP of $120 million per year. “

“To achieve this is very simple under the Tax Package - a straightforward inclusion of rail as an off-road user of diesel fuel."

“Removing this added charge on the rail industry is one very direct way to ease costs on producers and add to the competition pressure on transport providers. In the end, that is a bonus for Australia’s export bottom line,” said Mr. Kirk.

For further information p lease con tact John Kirk Executive Director Ph (03) 9614 5162 or 0419 209 735

Mr Kirk.