Australia’s peak farm body has ridiculed a policy proposal to scrap the Fuel Tax Credits Scheme – reportedly being floated by Andrew Forrest – saying it would be devastating to regional Australia.
National Farmers’ Federation Chief Executive, Tony Mahar, said it was bad policy that would damage livelihoods in country areas.
“Fuel tax credits exist to fix a serious distortion in the tax system,” Mr Mahar explained.
“Taxing farmers every time they start their tractor, pump or generator makes no sense.
“The proposal would apply a road user charge to fuel use that happens off-road in the paddock, on the water or even in hospitals.
“It would be a significant new tax on rural industries, which have no choice but to rely heavily on diesel.”
“Australia farmers are the most innovative in the world and are famously early adopters of new technologies and more sustainable practices. The uptake of photovoltaic solar by farmers far outstrips that of other industries and inner-city, urban and suburban communities. When there is a viable hydrogen supply chain and custom machinery available, farmers will get onboard hydrogen too.”
Mr Mahar said the emergence of such reckless ideas just months from the next Federal Election was of serious concern to the NFF.
“We would hate to see an attack like this on regional industries taken to the next election by any party.
“Political leaders should instead be looking at how they can tap into the potential of regional Australia.
“As we recover from COVID-19 it’s industries like agriculture leading the way – breaking new records as we head towards our target of being Australia’s next $100 billion industry.
“The last thing we need is new taxes dumped on the exact industries we should be backing for sustainable long-term growth like agriculture, tourism, fisheries and forestry,” Mr Mahar said.