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24 February 2022

Independent Senator Rex Patrick today renewed his call on the Morrison Government to take immediate action in the forthcoming Federal Budget to provide motorists with relief by slashing the federal fuel excise by fifty per cent. 

“With petrol prices surging to $2 a litre at some Adelaide petrol stations yesterday and prices rising sharply across South Australia, it’s imperative that the Federal Government take action to provide immediate relief from extreme petrol prices for Australian families by implementing a temporary 50% reduction in the fuel excise,” Senator Patrick said. 

“Unfortunately the Morrison Government appears more interested in using its pre-election war chest to buy votes in selected electorates and from special groups that they are in helping Australia’s battlers.”   

“Extreme fuel prices are a key part of the financial pressures bearing down on Australian families, and they are increasingly likely to stay as the Ukraine crisis disrupts global energy markets. Adelaide motorists are feeling a sharp pinch, but the price squeeze is even sharper across regional and remote South Australia. 

“While the current surge in petrol prices, the highest in well over a decade, is driven by international market forces, a major component of the cost of fuel is federal excise at the current rate, just increased at the beginning of February, of 44.2 cents per litre.”

“The average motorist paid about $775 in fuel excise in 2021, based on approximately 35 litres a week in petrol consumption.”

“Every time you fill up at the bowser, Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg are there to take their cut.” 

Yet The Australian newspaper today reports that “Energy Minister Angus Taylor said he recognised the hit to household finances as a result of record petrol prices, but said the government had no plans to remove or reduce the fuel excise tax in a bid to ease cost pressures.” 

“This is a highly regressive tax because family fuel consumption is largely determined by the necessity of travel to work, school etc, not by the price of petrol, and poorer households pay a much greater proportion of their income on fuel than richer people do," Senator Patrick said.

“The fuel price burden is especially acute in Australia’s regions and remote areas where higher petrol prices, greater distances travelled and lower incomes apply a big squeeze on household budgets.” 

“Rather than stuffing taxpayers’ dollars into more political pork barrels, the Prime Minister should make an immediate commitment to help struggling families across the board by 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.”

“The Government very clearly 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 the Federal Government.”

“As an independent Senator, I’ll be pressing the Government hard to help hard-pressed Australian families and small businesses by reducing the price shock at the petrol bowser.”