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Howard says nothing he can do to take financial pressure off families.

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Wayne Swan MP Federal Labor Shadow Treasurer 25 June 2005


The admission by the Prime Minister, reported today, that there’s nothing he can do to alleviate the pain of skyrocketing petrol prices is ignorant and absurd.

Mr Howard passed up the opportunity to put more money in the pay packets of Australian workers when he joined with the Treasurer in denying 7 million Australians fair dinkum tax relief.

It’s estimated that, for each car, a typical family is slugged an extra $5 a week when petrol prices go up by 10 cents a litre; $7.50 when they rise by 15 cents a litre; and $10 for a 20 cent rise in prices.

This means the Government’s tiny $6 a week tax cut will be automatically eaten up by rising petrol prices and will do nothing to take the pressure off.

Howard and Costello know nothing about financial pressure; they haven’t paid a petrol bill for years and have no idea of the pain inflicted by rising petrol prices.

If the PM or the Treasurer understood or cared they would have given middle income families a decent tax cut in the Budget, or supported Labor’s superior alternative.

There’s no better example of the Government’s ignorance and indifference to the financial plight of families than their refusal to take the pressure off 7 million Australian workers faced with higher petrol bills.

Families should brace themselves for two and a half more years of financial pressure, after more hints from John Howard that suggest he’ll serve the full term.

This is more than a slap in the face for Peter Costello; it will mean more of the same indifference to the financial pressures on Australian families.

Labor understands what families go through when petrol prices rise.

That’s why we have a six-point plan to prevent and punish profiteering from petrol price rises, and a fairer tax alternative that gives families genuine relief.

Saturday 25 June 2005 Contact Jim Chalmers 0417 141 676