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27 April 2022

Independent Senator Rex Patrick today called on the Coalition Government and Labor Opposition to commit to a six month extension of the fuel excise cut legislated with last month’s Federal Budget. 

“With inflation surging to 5.1%, the case for extending the 22.1c a litre cut in fuel excise for an additional six months is compelling,” Senator Patrick said. 

“The Federal Government clearly needs to take further action to dampen inflationary pressure through 2022-23.”

“Today’s inflation figure indicates that cost of living pressures are not going to ease anytime soon. The Coalition Government and the Labor Opposition must commit to further measures that will ease the squeeze on Australian families and small businesses that are still recovering from the economic experience of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“The Government’s agreement last month to my calls for a 50% cut in fuel excise was a big win for motorists and a great demonstration of the influence of independents in Federal Parliament. Given the importance of fuel prices for household budgets and for business supply chains, this will hopefully have a positive effect on the next quarter’s inflation figure.” 

“However it was clear then, and it’s even more clear now, that a six months cut in the fuel excise, half the duration of what I proposed, is not enough. The Russia-Ukraine conflict is unlikely to be resolved any time soon. Possible embargoes relating to Russia’s oil and gas supplies are likely to keep global energy markets in a state of uncertainty with a significant risk of further price spikes ahead.  China’s COVID lockdowns are likely to continue to disrupt global supply chains.”

“In these circumstances today’s inflation figure is much more likely the beginning of a trend than a peak, with further cost pressures and interest rate rises to follow through the 2022-23 financial year.” 

“As things stand today, petrol prices will jump 22.1 cents a litre when the current fuel excise reduction ends on 28 September. Both the Coalition and Labor need to make it absolutely clear whether, if elected to government, they will legislate to extend the current 22.1c a litre reduction for at least another six months, that is until the end of March 2023, and indeed perhaps until the end of the 2022-23 financial year.”

“Unfortunately, the inflation genie is out of the bottle and it will take a sustained effort to ease the pressures on Australian families and small businesses.” 

"I’ll keep pressing the Government hard to help Australians who still face a triple whammy of high petrol prices, rising food and grocery costs and looming interest rate rises.”