House debates

Wednesday, 25 June 2014


Customs Tariff Amendment (Fuel Indexation) Bill 2014, Excise Tariff Amendment (Fuel Indexation) Bill 2014, Fuel Indexation (Road Funding) Bill 2014, Fuel Indexation (Road Funding) Special Account Bill 2014; Second Reading

4:21 pm

Photo of Peter HendyPeter Hendy (Eden-Monaro, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to support the Customs Tariff Amendment (Fuel Indexation) Bill 2014 and associated bills, to oppose the amendment proposed by the opposition. These bills form part of a wider strategy to massively boost infrastructure spending in Australia. In particular, the focus of this package of bills is a massive increase in road infrastructure which will help boost the productivity of the Australian economy. That is vitally important because with a more productive economy it means we can, in a sustainable way, pay for all those other things that government provides like health services, education services and defence.

These bills amend the Excise Tariff Act and the Customs Tariff Act so that the rate of excise and excise equivalent customs duty applying to all fuels listed will be bi-annually indexed by reference to the consumer price index. The exception will be aviation fuel and the production of crude oil or condensate. The government has also provided that the increased revenue will be diverted to road expenditure. These measures will provide a stable and growing source of revenue to deliver the government's new road infrastructure projects.

Let us be clear: this is not so much the introduction of fuel indexation—that was done by the Hawke government in its 1983 budget. Instead, it is a reintroduction after a number of years of a hiatus. The rate of excise and excise equivalent customs duty on most fuels has not changed since the cessation of indexation in March 2001. As the Treasurer has detailed, petrol and diesel have both maintained an excise rate of 38.143c per litre since that time, with the real value of this rate having been eroded by inflation.

To give listeners a sense of this in relative terms, in the June quarter 2001, excise represented approximately 41.5 per cent of the price of unleaded petrol. Things are vastly different now. It is now worth around 25 per cent. The government has committed to the biggest increase in road expenditure in Australian history and reintroducing indexation is projected to moderately assist in funding these commitments by raising approximately $2.2 billion.

My electorate of it Eden-Monaro is receiving an early down payment on the increased roads expenditure. On 13 June the then Acting Prime Minister—that is, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure—visited Queanbeyan in my electorate. Together with the New South Wales Deputy Premier, Andrew Stoner, he announced a joint funding commitment of $50 million to build the Queanbeyan bypass. The Commonwealth and New South Wales governments have committed $25 million each to construct a 4.6 kilometre two-lane carriageway linking the end of Ellerton Drive to the new Edwin Land Parkway intersection at Old Cooma Road. A bridge will also be built over the Queanbeyan River.

The extension of Ellerton Drive will provide an alternative route for traffic wanting to bypass Queanbeyan's busy CBD and improve road safety. It is also a major economic development investment for the Queanbeyan district and has been the No. 1 infrastructure priority for the Queanbeyan City Council for a number of years. For those people worried that spending decreases in Canberra will adversely affect Queanbeyan and Eden-Monaro, this project will be a massive boost in investment and in jobs.


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