Statements by Senators – Taxation, Wednesday February 9, 2024

Senator BABET (Victoria—United Australia Party Whip) (13:48): This Labor government is telling anyone who will listen—anyone at all—that it’s going to legislate a tax cut for everybody. But what they didn’t tell you is that they broke a promise and that the cuts amount to just a few coffees a week.

The truth is that, while this government was promising to give people a few extra bucks, it was taking away people’s money by an increase on fuel tax. It’s even worse than you might imagine. The government taxes your fuel and then—get this—the government taxes that tax. Here’s how it works: the federal government charges a fuel excise on every litre of fuel you buy and then charges GST on that excise amount. It’s literally double dipping. It’s a tax on a tax, if you will. Last week, the fuel excise was 48.8c per litre plus a 10 per cent GST on the excise and the fuel. Around a third of your total fuel bill is tax. Don’t forget that you’ve probably already lost a third of your money on your income tax before you even get to the servo. It’s madness.

But wait. There’s more. We’re not finished yet. That fuel excise is indexed, so it increases every six months in line with inflation. This week the excise jumped to 49.6c per litre—plus GST, of course. While indexation applies to government fuel excise, it does not apply to income tax brackets. You have less net income and you pay more for your fuel. It’s a win-win for Treasurer Chalmers, really.

Governments sure know how to legally steal from taxpayers. In my opinion, tax is theft.