Last week, the Prime Minister confirmed that the Federal Government would not be changing the Fuel Tax Credits Scheme.
This is an important issue for not only farmers, but also for consumers, and Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) welcomes the clarity that this provides.
The decision to leave the Fuel Tax Credits Scheme unchanged is economically sound and makes ‘good common sense’. Farmers are already battling escalating on farm costs and increasing food supply chain costs further will only continue to compound the current cost of living crisis facing consumers.
This is not the time to increase the tax burden of farmers. It would make no sense at all to extend the fuel excise to off-road vehicles effectively levying a road tax on off-road fuel use.
It is concerning to see the recently released Grattan Institute Report claiming that if the cost of diesel is increased for farmers, they will then use alternative fuels, use less diesel and help to lower Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
There are currently no viable alternatives to diesel to effectively grow and transport food, fibre and foliage. Alternate fuels or even small electric tractors are still a long way off being commercially viable and right now, increasing the cost of diesel will simply directly increase the costs of production.
Supporting a sustainable food supply system is important to ensure future food security, as well as to contribute to solutions to ease cost of living pressures. Diesel prices have gone through the roof in the past one to two years and further cost increases would only exacerbate current inflationary issues.
Industry needs certainty and the Prime Minister’s assurance that the Fuel Tax Credits Scheme will remain unchanged has been welcomed by farmers and consumers alike. Effective climate policy must be well thought through and partner with the agricultural sector, not work against it. We must work together to achieve a sustainable food system, increased productivity, strong regional communities and sound environmental outcomes. We need a long term view, not knee jerk reactions which do not deliver for industry, communities or the environment.