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NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER ACTS ON EXTREME PETROL PRICES, SCOTT MORRISON DITHERS

15 March 2022

Independent Senator Rex Patrick today called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to look across the Tasman and follow the lead of the New Zealand Government in cutting fuel excise to alleviate the pressure of extreme petrol prices.

"New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gets it, but sadly our tone deaf Prime Minister doesn’t. Australian families and small businesses are suffering from high fuel prices now, yet Prime Minister Morrison thinks he should wait until budget day to announce any decision to help, and who knows when any action he might take will actually kick in.”

“It’s like bushfire and flood responses – Scott Morrison is always late."

“New Zealand’s fuel excise cut – 25 NZ cents a litre – equivalent to 23 cents a litre in Australia – came into effect at midnight last night. New Zealanders will experience the benefit of this price cut while Australians will be left waiting, all the while paying more at the bowser.” 

“If New Zealand can do this, so can Australia – and the need is greater here given the longer distances travelled by Australian motorists and the very clear inflationary pressures that are building in our economy.” 

“As I first called for three weeks ago, Australia’s Prime Minister should make an immediate commitment to help struggling families across the board by at least halving the fuel excise; immediately cutting it by 23 cents a litre in the Federal budget and keeping that reduction in place without any price indexation through 2022-23.” 

“If petrol prices go significantly higher than $2.20 it may well be necessary to suspend the full fuel excise of 44.2 cents a litre in its entirety for the next twelve months.” 

“The Federal Government has the budgetary capacity to provide significant fuel price relief, given the fact that Treasurer Frydenberg’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook statement in December revealed a huge secret election war chest of $15.9 billion allocated to decisions ‘taken but not yet announced’.”

“The current combination of extreme petrol prices and post-COVID-19 economic challenges is a special circumstance that demands immediate action from Prime Minister Morrison. He should take a leaf from Jacinda Ardern's book and act now."