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Monday, 2 April 2001
Page: 26215

Mr WAKELIN (10:35 PM) —Tonight I bring to the House's attention the circumstances of a constituent and his family at a small enterprise about 500 kilometres north of Adelaide at Angorichina Tourist Village. David Scicluna runs the Angorichina Tourist Village. He caters for many buses, with a focus on overseas and domestic tourism. The Angorichina Tourist Village is in the Flinders Ranges on the Parachilna Road, between Parachilna and Blinman. The issue I raise relates to the diesel fuel excise. David uses about 40,000 litres of diesel a year to provide the power required to run his enterprise which requires 24-hour power.

He runs the diesel generator until about 1 o'clock in the morning and then has a separate wiring system and a bank of batteries, which he has just invested in, which gives that 24-hour power service. If David were on the normal domestic electricity grid, that power would cost him around $10,000 per annum. For the last two decades at least, under the Labor government and in the early years of the coalition government, David would have been paying—certainly in the last decade—$10,000 to $15,000 per annum in excise. His excise bill alone is equal to what most people would expect to pay for their total power bill for such a small business.

David's costs are around $60,000 per year. That includes diesel, the battery bank, repairs and maintenance of his generator sets and repairs and maintenance on his gas freezers. I think that establishes the case that here we have a very viable, thriving small business which employs one person who is subjected to this unfair excise imposition. Let us compare it to the excise input on the sources of energy and all other electricity generated in Australia. There is no input energy tax on coal, gas, water or wind, yet there is a tax on diesel in these circumstances. Therefore, I would be very keen to see the government consider this. Let us remind the House of what the Howard-Anderson government brought to the last election. They wanted to bring separate rebate arrangements and said:

... we will continue to provide relief from excise for certain private, off-road use of diesel, such as remote power generation including generators not currently eligible.

Clearly, the intention of the new tax system was to exempt David from this imposition, but, in the negotiations with the Democrats, that was pushed to one side. Here we have one small business in the Flinders Ranges paying as much in tax on his fuel as would be the total cost normally for a business in the city or anyone else connected to the grid. I ask the government, in developing policy for the next election, to acknowledge the enterprise of individuals like David Scicluna and his family who are working in a sustainable and growing industry.