VFF wants fuel tax cash for country roads

CASH raised from a petrol price rise by the federal government should be equitably redirected towards rural roads, Victoria’s farm lobby group says.

Treasurer Joe Hockey announced the return of the twice-yearly indexation of the fuel tax when the federal budget was handed down earlier this month, with the funds raised being redirected to the Roads to Recovery program.

Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) president Peter Tuohey said while rural motorists were not happy with a petrol price rise, he hoped funds raised from the excise hike would be funnelled back into regional roads. 

“It’s hard to argue that country people don’t spend more on petrol than city drivers because of the distances we cover,” Mr Tuohey said.

“Bearing that in mind, the federal government should ensure that a share of the money raised from the levy from country drivers is equal to that spent on country roads.

“I don’t think (rural drivers) would mind paying an extra two or three cents if the money they pay is seen to be spent on roads they use.”

Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss made assurances earlier this month that the $2.4 billion raised by the reintroduced fuel excise would go specifically to road projects. He said the funding would be spent on a project-by-project basis rather than divided up by regions or states and territories.

“All the money being raised from the indexation of fuel will be legislated to be spent on roads,” the National Party leader said.

Warrnambool fuel prices were cheaper than the Melbourne average  last week, with most service stations in the south-west’s largest city selling unleaded petrol for $1.45 to $1.48 per litre. Portland service stations sold unleaded at $1.50 a litre while their Hamilton counterparts were selling fuel at $1.55 a litre. 

According to the RACV’s fuel watch initiative, the average price of unleaded fuel in Melbourne on Friday was $1.57 a litre.



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