Legislation has been passed through Parliament to extend the sunset provisions for the Diesel Fuel Rebate Scheme and Diesel and Alternative Fuels Grants Scheme by one year, to 30 June 2003.
As per existing arrangements, upon sunset, both schemes are to be replaced by a Energy Grants (Credits) Scheme (EGS).
The extension was necessary to ensure sufficient time to incorporate the findings of the fuel tax inquiry into the development of the EGS.
The extension of the sunset clause is expected to be welcomed by industry and provides certainty to the transport sector, primary producers and other recipients as they plan their future business activities.
The Government has always remained firmly committed to carrying forward the benefits of the Diesel Fuel Rebate Scheme and Diesel and Alternative Fuels Grants Scheme into a EGS. In fact, this commitment was clearly spelt out in the terms of reference for the fuel tax inquiry.
The legislation passed today also contained measures that simplify record keeping and administration arrangements for the Diesel and Alternative Fuels Grants Scheme.
Finally, the legislation extends the Diesel and Alternative Fuels Grants Scheme to all fuel used by emergency vehicles with a gross vehicle mass greater than 4.5 tonnes. Previously these vehicles could only claim grants on their on-road fuel.
Fuel excise increased from some 6 cents per litre in 1983 to 34 cents per litre in 1996 under the previous Labor Government. And Labor introduced the half-yearly indexation of fuel excise - a policy that was abolished by the Howard Government earlier this year.
28 August 2001
Robyn Bain Deputy Prime Minister's Office 02 6277 7680
Richard Wise Assistant Treasurer's Office 02 6277 7360