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Alston claims 'substantial reductions in fuel prices'

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Alston Claims 'Substantial Reductions In Fuel Prices' Sue Mackay - Shadow Minister for Regional Services

Media Statement - 4 October 2000

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The Minister representing the Prime Minister in the Senate, Senator Alston, claimed yesterday that not only have there been "very substantial reductions in fuel prices that have occurred since 1 July" but that "the government does not benefit from higher petrol prices".

"These are unbelievable comments from a senior Minister. It is an insult to the people of regional and rural Australia, in particular, for such comments to be made on the same day the National Farmers Federation was in talks with the Government on this issue.

"Since the introduction of the GST on 1 July, the tax on petrol has increased by over three cents per litre in most rural and regional areas.

"Not only has the Government denied outright that this is a direct result of the GST, but they have also denied that this represents a huge and unexpected windfall in tax revenue.

"In 1998, John Howard promised Australian motorists that the GST would not increase the price of petrol. He has broken that promise and is now refusing to do anything about it.

"In August this year, the Labor Party moved to establish a Senate inquiry into the impact of the GST on petrol - but the Government and the Democrats refused to support the inquiry.

"In response to this, Labor moved yesterday to establish its own committee of inquiry so that the people of Australia will know exactly how the GST has impacted on fuel prices. I will be one of six Labor members on the committee of inquiry.

"The Labor committee will consult widely with Australian motorists and industry groups around the country. Labor's inquiry will aim to quantify the windfall to the Government from the GST on petrol, and will then examine options for returning this windfall to Australian motorists.

"The Labor Party will give the Australian public the answers that the Government refuses to give them," Senator Mackay said.

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