Money-hungry Green/Left government wants a new tax even on a "green" fuel
Their addiction to spending trumps everything else -- but it gives the conservatives a free kick
The Coalition is set to oppose Labor's new excise on LPG, opening another front in its potent "cost of living" attack against the Gillard government and potentially blowing a $540 million hole in the budget.
The Coalition leader, Tony Abbott, hinted at the stand yesterday when he said he would soon announce a "very clear position" on the proposed excise - due to be phased in from December - and agreed with a radio interviewer that it would be "silly" from an environmental point of view for the government to impose a tax that made it more expensive to use cleaner LPG.
The independents - who won a partial reprieve from the new excise for biofuels such as ethanol in the deal struck to allow Labor to form government - are under pressure to also remove or delay the excise for the half million drivers who could be hit by the new tax on LPG.
LPG Australia held a "town hall meeting" in Tamworth, in the independent Tony Windsor's electorate, on Monday night and has held similar meetings in the electorates of independents Rob Oakeshott and Andrew Wilkie. It argues LPG is a greener alternative because its emissions are up to 13 per cent lower than those of a petrol-run car.
A communique from the meeting, signed by 14 local business owners, said the tax would hit regional industries and jobs and demanded the government and the independents abandon it.
The government is scheduled to introduce within weeks legislation phasing in the excise on alternative fuels from December - finally implementing plans first announced by the Howard government in 2004, before the former government deferred the excise until 2010.
Last year the budget included the new excise and said it would raise $540 million over its first four years, with the tax starting at 2.5¢ a litre and rising to 12.5¢ over five years. In January the Assistant Treasurer, Bill Shorten, delayed its start date from July to December to give the industry more time to prepare for the impost.