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Fuel Credit Reforms Will Leave Farmers Out of Pocket

12 May 2006

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has voiced serious concerns over the proposed reforms to the fuel tax credit system, currently being considered by Parliament, which will significantly impact on the cash flow of many farmers leaving them out of pocket while waiting to claim their fuel excise rebate.

“The proposed changes outlined in the ‘Fuel Tax Bill 2006’ will mean that Australian farmers will have no other alternative but to claim their fuel tax credit through their Business Activity Statements (BAS),” NFF President Peter Corish said today.

“While NFF acknowledges that the business activity statement (BAS) may prove a simpler and beneficial way for some farm businesses to claim their fuel tax credits, there is also a large number of farmers who will be severely disadvantaged in terms of cash-flow, under the new arrangements.

“Under the system, a farmer purchasing a bulk delivery of diesel in advance of harvest, may (depending on their GST arrangements) face a lengthy wait of anywhere between 4-12 months before they are able to claim their fuel tax credit.

“With fuel prices already at record highs in rural and regional areas, the added out of pocket expenses created by the changes impose an unnecessary burden on Australian farm businesses,” Mr Corish said.

Despite the Governments claims that the Fuel Tax Bill will lead to a streamlined and more efficient system for businesses to claim fuel credits, the reforms see the abolition of the popular E-Grant system, a scheme which allows farmers and other small businesses to avoid cash flow issues by allowing them to claim their fuel rebates electronically at the time of purchase.

“NFF has strongly argued that the Australian Government should be looking to expand the E-Grant system as an option for farmers to claim their credits, however it appears that this option has been overlooked by the Treasury,” Mr Corish said.

“We welcome the news that the Fuel Tax Bill 2006 has been referred to the Senate Economics Committee, and NFF will make sure that the interests of Australian farmers are taken into account in the Inquiry process.

“As the pressure of fuel prices drives many rural communities to flash point, NFF will continue to strongly lobby government to take immediate measures to ease this burden, including the reinstatement of the E-Grant system and the broader fuel excise reforms outlined in the Energy White Paper, brought forward.”

Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250.

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