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Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Page: 6282

Carbon Pricing

Mr HUNT (Flinders) (14:20): My question is to the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. I refer the minister to his statement in the House:

… on-road fuel costs are not increasing under the carbon price and, in fact, off-road fuel costs will decrease. Excise is being cut.

Given that the carbon tax will apply to heavy off-road commercial activity from 1 July 2012 and on-road commercial activity from 1 July 2014, and the government's own budget shows a total increase in fuel excise revenue of $920 million, will the minister explain why he says fuel taxes are going down when, in fact, they are going up?

Mr COMBET (CharltonMinister for Industry and Innovation and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) (14:20): I am very pleased to be asked that question because yesterday in question time I referred to a misleading letter sent by the Leader of the Opposition to local governments around Australia, which erroneously claimed, misleadingly claimed, that the cost of running council trucks is going to go up. He has been dropped into this, assumedly, by the shadow minister, who has not done his homework in relation to this matter.

As I told the House yesterday, this is completely misleading, because the facts are these. In relation to local councils, to which I was referring and to which the Leader of the Opposition had written, their on-road fuel costs will not increase under the carbon price from 1 July. Secondly, and importantly, off-road fuel costs for local councils will actually fall from 1 July. Currently, the fuel tax credit for diesel used by local councils—it is important to listen to the facts occasionally—in off-road activities like road construction and maintenance is 19.0715c per litre. From 1 July the fuel tax credit for these activities will, in fact, rise to 31.933c per litre. That means that the effective fuel tax rate for local councils for off-road diesel use will decrease from 1 July by 12.8615c per litre. If they had had the gumption on that side of the parliament to do their homework, they could have looked it all up on the ATO website. Do your work. Do not come in here and impugn my integrity or go outside. Do your homework!