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29 July 2001 - 02

Fuel Taxation Inquiry - Opportunities for Participation by the Public

The Chairman of the Federal Government's Fuel Taxation Inquiry, Mr David Trebeck, today announced details of the opportunities for the public to participate in the Inquiry's examination of the total structure of fuel taxation in Australia.

"The Committee of Inquiry will be seeking a wide range of views from the Australian community on issues raised in the terms of reference, including consumers, business, environmental organisations, as well as Federal and State Government agencies.", Mr Trebeck said.

"The Committee's task, as specified in its terms of reference, is to:

examine the total existing structure of Commonwealth and State taxation of petroleum products;

report on various impacts of the current structure - and make recommendations; and

have regard to a number of issues in making recommendations, including the Government's existing commitments in relation to current fuel rebate, grants and subsidy schemes, no long-term real increases in the effective level of diesel or petrol taxes, and the Government's wish to achieve overall budget neutrality in relation to petroleum products".

There will be a number of opportunities for the public to present their views to the Committee on the issues raised in the terms of reference.

The first stage in this process is for written submissions to be provided to the Committee from interested groups and individuals.

Submissions are formally invited from today, with 30 September 2001 being the final day for lodging submissions with the Inquiry Secretariat.

The Committee will be releasing an issues paper shortly outlining the main features of the existing taxation and rebate/grant arrangements for fuels in Australia and asking for comments on the effects of these arrangements.

Following the lodging of submissions, the Committee will commence a consultation process to provide an opportunity for the Committee to discuss the content of the submissions at a more detailed level.

"Fuel taxation and associated rebate and subsidy arrangements have been the focus of interest in the Australian community for many years, and have been the subject of a wide range of views. It is the Committee's intention to hear as many of these views as possible first hand.", Mr Trebeck said.

In particular, Mr Trebeck said the Inquiry provided a timely opportunity to consider community views on the objectives of fuel taxation arrangements, given policy developments in recent years, as well as the future outlook for the production and usage of various types of fuel within Australia and internationally.

Meanwhile, work has started on documenting current fuel taxation arrangements - at both the Commonwealth and State level - reviewing past inquiries into fuel taxation and the fuel industry, and collecting information on fuel taxation overseas (including objectives, mechanisms and levels).

Background papers on these subjects will be published progressively on the Committee's website (http://fueltaxationinquiry.treasury.gov.au).

"The Committee has a strong interest in ensuring the public has widely available access to factual material produced by the Inquiry and will be making extensive use of its website for this purpose. This will also include making available submissions to the inquiry on the website, to the furthest extent possible."

Mr Trebeck concluded by urging those interested in making a submission to the Inquiry to send them by 30 September 2001 to the following addresses:

Secretary
Fuel Taxation Inquiry
C/- Department of the Treasury
Langton Crescent
PARKES ACT 2600

Contact: David Trebeck: 02 6263 4328

29 July 2001



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