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On-road diesel grants scheme boundaries released.



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ASSISTANT TREASURER

NO.018

On-Road Diesel Grants Scheme Boundaries Released

A61/2000 12th April 2000

Primary producers and businesses in non-metropolitan areas will be big winners under a new on-road diesel grants scheme announced today by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson and the Assistant Treasurer, Rod Kemp.

The scheme will provide grants to users of diesel and certain alternative fuels in order to cut transport costs, with particular focus on transport activities in rural and regional areas.

The Government today announced the metropolitan boundaries which will apply under the scheme, as well as extended eligibility for primary producers.

"The Diesel and Alternative Fuels Grants Scheme (DAFGS) is a vital part of the Federal Government’s commitment to cut fuel costs, especially for those in rural and regional Australia," Mr Anderson said.

"Today’s announcement is further evidence of the benefits to all Australians flowing from the new tax system."

Under the scheme, operators of heavy vehicles between 4.5 and 20 tonnes, transporting goods or passengers, will be eligible for a grant which will offset their on-road diesel costs in respect of journeys conducted in non-metropolitan areas. Trips which either start or finish in a non-metropolitan area or which travel between major urban conurbations will be eligible for the grant.

The metropolitan boundaries do not affect vehicles over 20 tonnes. In a further boost for primary producers, they too will benefit from the grant even for transport within the metropolitan boundary.

"In devising the boundaries for this scheme, the Coalition Government has clearly taken account of the needs of rural and regional Australia, as well as the particular needs of primary producers, many of whom are on the urban fringe and need a special extension to ensure that they too qualify for the grant.

"The scheme has come about as a result of the compromise tax package negotiated with the Australian Democrats last year. The boundaries preserve the Government’s original intention of reducing transport costs in regional areas and address concerns about diesel emissions in our major cities.

"I know that the recent rises in fuel prices have been driving transport costs up and I recognise that this must flow through to consumers. However, the New Tax System and the Diesel and Alternative Fuels Grants Scheme will push transport costs in the opposite direction and these benefits will also flow through to consumers and exporters," Mr Anderson said.

Mr. Anderson made special mention of the industry education efforts of the Australian Trucking Association and the National Farmers’ Federation. "The introduction date of 1 July will be far smoother for operators as a result of their efforts.

"The scheme applies in addition to the fuel excise reductions that will ensure that the pump price of fuel need not rise due to the introduction of the GST. The effective excise costs for eligible use will fall to around 20 cents per litre once these dual effects are taken into account.

"It also complements the expanded Diesel Fuel Rebate Scheme for eligible off-road usage."

Senator Kemp said the boundaries which define the metropolitan area for the purposes of the scheme would ensure that transport activities across 99% of Australia’s landmass would be eligible for the grant.

"The Government and the Australian Tax Office have identified major urban areas according to the Australian Standard Geographical Classification, developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics," Senator Kemp said.

"Importantly, the eligibility for the grant is based on the journeys undertaken, not on the location of the business itself. Of course, for primary producers, the boundaries are immaterial because transport for primary production purposes on public roads is eligible, even within a metropolitan area.

"We expect that around 210,000 businesses will operate under this scheme."

The Australian Tax Office has produced maps which illustrate the metropolitan boundaries for the purposes of the scheme.

DAFGS will commence on 1 July 2000, at the same time as the New Tax System. Vehicle operators will have to register for the grants scheme with the Australian Tax Office. This is a separate registration to the Australian Business Number (ABN). For information on how to register, visit the ATO website at www.taxreform.ato.gov.au or call the Diesel Fuel Infoline on 1300 657 162. The maps of metropolitan boundaries will also be available at the website, or through Senator Kemp’s office.

Media contacts: (Mr Anderson’s office) Paul Chamberlin 02 62777680 / 0419 233989

(Senator Kemp’s office) Richard Allsop 02 62777360 / 0419 482497

 

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