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Dutton tries to cover up petrol price slug in the Bush.

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Joel Fitzgibbon MP

Member for Hunter Shadow Assistant Treasurer Shadow Minister for Revenue Shadow Minister for Small Business and Competition

11 May 2006



Peter Dutton tried to quash a Senate Inquiry yesterday into changes to fuel tax. He wanted to cover up the proposed abolition of the Fuel Tax Grants Scheme.

Mr Dutton tried to bully his own Senators into opposing the creation of an inquiry.

The Government’s Fuel Tax changes include removing the Fuel Sales Grants Scheme, which provides a $275 million annual boost to regional and rural Australia by subsidising petrol by 1 to 3 cents.

The scheme was set up in 2000 by the Howard Government as a result of its failure to meet a promise that the GST would not lead to petrol price increases.

Mr Dutton’s plan to remove this petrol subsidy amounts to a $1.1 billion dollar petrol tax hit on regional and rural Australia over four years.

This all comes at a time when the family budget is being stretched to the limit by record high petrol prices and interest rate rises.

However, under pressure from Labor, Mr Dutton has been forced to accept a Senate Inquiry into the Bill.

The Senate Committee will explore better options for the scheme and whether the Government’s policy will see this higher tax take spent on regional and rural Australia.

If Mr Dutton wants to raise petrol prices in the bush he should have the courage to explain his decision to a Senate Inquiry.

Contact: Joel Fitzgibbon 0418 293 372 Brendan Long 0408 421 447

Tarryn Edwards 0417 140 93