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Costello pigheaded on regulations.

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Blythe Hamilton 02 6277 4753 or 0407 099 104

20 June 2003


The Treasurer is being pigheaded and bloody-minded with his decision not to brief Labor and the minor Parties on regulations that underpin a $3 billion Diesel Grant Bill before the Senate.

The Treasurer has briefed all affected industry groups, including the Australian Institute of Petroleum, Australian Trucking Association, the National Farmers Federation and others, but he will not brief the legislators.

The Energy Grants Credit Scheme, that will come into effect with the passage of this Bill, is very important to the trucking, mining and farming communities.

The Treasurer is risking passage of the Bill by refusing to fully inform the Opposition and minor parties.

While the industry groups were permitted to see the draft Regulations, it was on a confidential basis, so they are not able to talk to the legislators about the content of the Regulations.

The Regulations contain the details that are critical to maintaining the benefit of the existing diesel schemes for the transport industry, such as the actual grant rates for the on-road and off-road credit, specification of metropolitan boundaries, methods for calculating eligible fuel and important definitions that affect eligibility.

The Treasurer’s office argues that showing the draft Regulations to the Opposition before the passage of the Bill will set a precedent in his portfolio. But the reality is that, in portfolios where the Government seeks cooperation for the passage of important le gislation, it is a usual practice.

The Prime Minister makes grand speeches about obstructive tactics of other parties in the Senate, but turns a blind eye to the pigheaded tactics of his Treasurer.

The industry needs this Bill passed and the Treasurer has an obligation to take all reasonable steps to ensure the Senate facilitates that.

He must make the draft Regulations available before the Senate considers the Bill - just as his office previously promised the Opposition.

These bills are too important for the Treasurer’s games.

Federal Member for Batman Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Transport, Infrastructure and Tourism

Martin Ferguson MP