Fuel Tax Credit Scheme vital for farmers

8 May 2014 9:42 AM -

The Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia (RGA) has grave concerns about rumours the government plans to make cuts to the rebate farmers can claim for off-road fuel use under the Fuel Tax Credit Scheme in next week’s Federal Budget.

RGA President, Les Gordon, said the current fuel rebate scheme is a rebate payable to farmers for the excise and customs duty paid on certain fuels, like diesel, when purchased for specific off-road uses.

“The fuel excise was introduced to fund the development and maintenance of Australia’s road network. The rebate is designed to ensure farmers are not being taxed for road use when they are not using the road.”

“We know of many family farming businesses that will be hit hard by cuts to the fuel rebate. They are using fuel for irrigation bore pumps, tractors and earth-moving equipment that never leave the paddock. Why should they be paying a tax to maintain roads and highways when the fuel is being used to grow food?”

Mr Gordon said any cuts to the fuel rebate scheme would increase the costs of production for Australian rice growers who compete in global markets against countries who heavily subsidise their agriculture sectors.

“The Coalition continue to state that they are committed to improving competitiveness and profitability of the Australian agriculture sector through their White Paper process.”

“Cuts to the fuel rebate scheme would fly in the face of this commitment and we call on the Federal Government to leave the current system in place,” Mr Gordon concluded.

Download the media release here.