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MP Gee gives Labor a nudge over Thursday's 25 cents a litre fuel hike

September 27, 2022

Stock image, digitally altered.

By Peter Holmes

Calare MP Andrew Gee is one of a chorus of National Party voices pressuring the Albanese Labor government to postpone the return to full excise on fuel on Thursday morning.

On Wednesday night the 50 percent cut in fuel excise mandated by the former Morrison government in March this year will expire, and the full 100 percent will be charged again.

Fuel excise is about 45 to 50 cents a litre, and so the return to the status quo will see another 22 to 25 cents per litre added to your fuel bill.

The former government cut the fuel excise by half in the lead up to the May federal election, as high petrol prices bit at the bowser. It set a time limit of six months, and that period runs out on Wednesday night.

The new Labor government says it is simply adhering to the timeline set by the previous government. It believes the nation is in no position to continue to forgo revenue that it then has to find somewhere else, or add to the debt pile.

“Getting from A to B shouldn’t break the bank," said Gee in a statement. "That’s why earlier this year, in an effort to ease fuel-cost fears, the previous federal government halved the fuel excise by 22 cents per litre.

“For the past six months, with household bills building, interest rates rocketing, and lettuce prices lifting off, Aussies have saved hundreds of dollars in fuel costs at a time they needed to most."

Gee pointed to the comparatively high prices paid by Central West residents.

“That’s why I believe a continuation of this fuel tax relief is vital, and why I am once again calling on the current government to continue the fuel excise holiday beyond the 28th of September."

In its fuel monitoring reports, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reports on the components that make up retail petrol prices.

In its December 2021 report, about 50 percent of the cost of petrol in the quarter in the five largest Australian cities was made up of the international cost of refined petrol, about 36 percent was made up of taxes (excise and GST) and the rest was retail margin and other costs.

The ABC reported on August 2 that Nationals MP David Gillespie defended the Coalition putting a six-month limit on the excise cut.

"When those announcements were made, the thought was that things might turn back to normal pretty quickly," he said.

"We were hoping that Ukraine and Russia might come to terms, and there would be a flow of liquid and gas as per normal, but that is definitely not happening anytime soon."

Federal treasurer Jim Chalmers says the six-month reprieve will cost the budget bottom line $3 billion.

Current petrol prices of about $1.80 per litre (with reduced excise) are close to a peak under John Howard around 2008 when prices hit $1.70 a litre, but they dropped back steeply after the GFC.

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