ECONOMY

‘No plans to do that’: Why Scott Morrison won’t act to slash rising petrol prices

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The average price of unleaded petrol in Perth will reach $2.09 per liter on Wednesday, obliterating the previous record set just a fortnight ago by more than 20c.

Some outlets are charging as much as $2.22 per liter.

It is the first time petrol has soared beyond $2 per liter on average, after reaching the $1.95 on February 23 as part of Perth’s two-weekly price cycle.

Perth’s unleaded average on Tuesday – the low point of the cycle – was 179.1c, meaning the price is poised to hike by nearly 30c overnight.

In an alert issued Tuesday, Fuel Watch warned “most branded retailers are hiking their ULP price”.

“Ampol, BP, Caltex Woolworths and Coles Express hiking between 32-46 cpl up to 221.9 cpl; Puma up to 221.7 cpl; and 7-Eleven and United up to 209.9 cpl,” FuelWatch said.

Petrol prices across the country have soared to record highs after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed crude oil prices to an eight-year high.

However, a tax cut that could lighten the load has been ruled out by the Morrison government.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is now facing calls to cut the fuel excise, which is taxed at 44 cents per litre.

South Australian senator Rex Patrick has insisted this tax should be halved in the March 29 budget.

“This situation is already putting pressure on Australian families and small businesses just as they are recovering in the economic backwash of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Cars queue up at petrol stations in Perth on Tuesday afternoon as petrol prices.
Camera IconCars queue up at petrol stations in Perth on Tuesday afternoon as petrol prices. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

“Extreme fuel prices, higher food and grocery prices and rising interest rates could prove to be a triple whammy for many Aussie families.”

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese didn’t rule out slashing the tax if Labor were to win the upcoming election.

“We think that everything, in terms of making a difference to people’s pressure on their living standards, will be given proper consideration,” Mr Albanese told 3AW.

Shell on Tuesday apologized for buying Russian crude oil last week and said it would withdraw completely from any involvement in Russian hydrocarbons over the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Shell on Tuesday apologized for buying Russian crude oil last week and said it would withdraw completely from any involvement in Russian hydrocarbons over the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Australian motorists are expected to pay more than $11bn in net fuel excise this financial year.

The Australian Automobile Association estimates a typical household will pay $1188.

Almost all of this is reinvested into transport projects, such as building new roads.

Oil Prices Today Pic
Camera IconThe government has ruled out cutting the tax. Justin Lloyd. Credit: News Corp Australia

In 2001, former prime minister John Howard froze the excise after soaring oil prices sent the cost of fuel up towards $1 per litre.

But Energy Minister Angus Taylor has ruled out a policy repeat.

“We have no plans to do that,” he said.

Mr Taylor argued the excise was required so the government could keep “road building”.

“We see the pain people are feeling at the pump,” he added.

“The excise is used to fund road spending … And we want to keep that road building going on.

“As I drive around, during the floods, I see how much more work has to go into our roads in the coming years and that has to be paid for.”

Petrol prices are expected to hit the roof on Wednesday.
Camera IconPetrol prices are expected to hit the roof on Wednesday. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

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