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Monday, 29 May 2000
Page: 16500

Mr Latham asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 9 March 2000:

(1) Is the Government introducing a Diesel and Alternative Fuels Grants Scheme to offset the impact of the GST on diesel fuel use in prescribed areas in non-metropolitan Australia.

(2) What is the estimated annual cost of the scheme and how will grants be distributed.

(3) Is the Government using section 96 of the Constitution as its head of power for this scheme; if not, under what Constitutional power is the scheme operating.

(4) What other GST concessions is the Government considering for prescribed areas.

Mr Costello (Treasurer) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) No. The Diesel and Alternative Fuels Grants Scheme (DAFGS) will provide grants to users of diesel and certain alternative fuels in order to cut transport costs, particularly in rural and regional Australia. The application of this grant, in addition to the input tax credits for business, will lower the cost of diesel used in many transport vehicles by around 24 cents per litre.

(2) The cost of the scheme is contained in the 2000-01 Budget Papers.

(3) The power of the Commonwealth to appropriate money for grants is contained in Section 81 of the Constitution.

(4) The DAFGS is not a GST concession, but a grant scheme.