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Australian motorists deserve action on petrol.

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Australian Motorists Deserve Action On Petrol Kim Beazley, Leader of the Opposition, and Simon Crean, Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Joint Media Statement - 3 October 2000

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John Howard is reaping a fuel tax windfall because of his failure to keep his commitment on petrol.

John Howard and his Government broke their promise that the GST would cause no rise in the price of petrol - but the Prime Minister won't admit it, and he won't do anything about it. Meanwhile, Australian families are finding fuel prices are an increasingly heavy burden.

Howard persistently refuses to disclose the extent of the windfall he has reaped through his GST, and that is why there should be an immediate inquiry into fuel prices. The people have a right to know when their Government makes a tax grab.

Labor will:

Conduct a fuel tax inquiry to quantify the extent of the fuel tax windfall and consider options for returning this windfall to motorists; ●

Maintain our commitment, expressed through an existing Private Members Bill, to improving prices by freeing petrol stations to purchase fuel from any supplier; ●

Maintain our commitment to retaining the $500m fuel grants scheme for regional and remote Australia; ●

Labor believes the best way for John Howard to give immediate relief to Australian motorists is to make good his petrol promise and reduce the excise by the full amount of the GST.

However if he continues to refuse this course of action, the next best step is for the Government to remove the GST inflation spike from the February excise adjustment. On current estimates, this would result in fuel prices falling by around 2¢ per litre.

We believe our inquiry will find that the fuel tax windfall will more than offset the cost of this measure.

The Labor members and senators who will conduct our fuel inquiry are:

Senator Peter Cook, Chair Senator Sue Mackay Mr Joel Fitzgibbon MP Dr Craig Emerson MP Senator Nick Sherry

Mr David Cox MP

The inquiry members will consult widely with the fuel industry and other interested parties.

Terms Of Reference For Fuel Inquiry

That the Committee inquire into:

1. the failure of changes to the tax system to ensure that the price of petrol would not rise because of those changes;

2. the increase in the amount of tax on petrol and other fuels because of the GST tax package;

3. the expected future increases in the amount of tax on petrol and other fuels from further impacts of the GST tax package;

4. whether the GST acts as a tax on a tax on petrol and other fuels;

5. the wholesale and retail price of petrol and other fuels in Australia, including an examination of the factors that influence those prices, and;

6. the amount of extra windfall revenue the Commonwealth will collect from the taxation of petrol and other fuels, and options for returning the windfall.

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.