By bypassing the Senate, for now, the government can reintroduce biannual excise rises in line with inflation with 12 months to effectively ‘backdate’ the legislation and pass it through parliament.
Pressure is now on Labor and the minor parties to support the bill, as any revenue generated by the excise will be returned to its source if the legislation is eventually rejected by the Senate.
As the oil companies will be charged with paying the higher excise, any revenue would therefore be returned to them and not motorists at a retail level - who will inevitably pay more when the cost is passed on through higher fuel prices.
The NRMA disagrees, however, urging motorists to ‘keep their receipts’ and rally their local member to oppose the higher excise.
The motoring group is hopeful that a new campaign called “Say No To Another Fuel Tax”, launched today, will prompt a public backlash which sees revenue returned to motorists rather than oil companies - if the legislation fails to pass through the Senate.
Western Australia’s RAC is also opposed to the excise rise, with the Club’s Will Golsby saying the additional revenue is unlikely to return to the state.
“WA motorists are already among the most heavily taxed consumers in the country and an increase of this type is unjustified,” Mr Golsby said.
“This tax increase will impact those living in rural and outer metropolitan areas because they typically have longer distances to drive, and fewer public transport options.”
While Labor has recently announced it will attempt to block the bill, support may still come from the Greens who initially supported the fuel excise rise before ‘back-flipping’.
Speaking with The West Australian, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann reportedly offered to direct money from the Government’s asset recycling fund into a light rail scheme for Perth and other Australian cities, in return for the Greens’ support on the fuel excise bill.