Chrissy Harris

We will pay more for fuel as government goes to Plan B

DRIVERS across Australia can expect to pay an extra half a cent a litre on fuel at bowsers around the country, after the Abbott government moved new regulations to enact its plans to increase the fuel excise.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann announced the change this morning in Canberra, which will take effect from November 10 this year.

The move comes after the government failed to get The Greens, Labor, or enough Senate crossbenchers on board to pass its plans.

Sen Cormann said the failure to pass the original excise increase by August this year meant the government had lost about $35 million in extra revenue.

It will mean the rate of fuel excise duty rises immediately from 38.142 cents a litre to 38.6 a cents a litre, or about 40 cents a week for drivers who consume about 50 litres of fuel a week.

But far from being a way to get around the hostile reception from the Senate to the budget measure, Senator Cormann said the move was only "using the legislation as it currently stands".

While the changes will not be directly made through a rise to the fuel excise, the government will instead make drivers pay slightly more through tariff proposals, similar to the way the "alcopops tax" worked.

The move will also give effect to the government's original plans, returning fuel excise to increases every six months from February next year.

Sen Cormann said the overall plans should get an extra $2.2 billion for government coffers over the forward estimates.
Both houses of parliament would have an opportunity to "validate" the change in 12 months, or reject it through a disallowance motion.



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