“The Greens are preparing to sell out farmers by abolishing fuel tax credits as part of any agreement with the government on climate change policy,” said The Nationals’ Senator Ron Boswell today.
“The Greens have taken up calls by the Australia Institute to get rid of the fuel tax credit scheme which would significantly hurt the bottom line of Australia’s farmers and commercial fishers, let alone miners.
“To impose billions of dollars in extra costs on our great mining and agriculture industries at a time when they are reeling from the effects of natural disasters, is against the national interest as well as the interests of family farmers and fishers and their local towns.”
Senator Boswell warned that the Greens were trying to blackmail the government into making the fuel tax credit scheme a part of the climate policy agreement on a carbon price.
“The Greens are upping the ante on a carbon price. Now they want to abolish the farmers’ fuel tax credits as well.
“What other threats are on the Greens’ agenda before they agree to pass Labor’s carbon price legislation?
“Do the Greens also wish to abolish fuel tax credits under the scheme claimed by emergency vessels and vehicles, generators, nursing and medical and construction equipment such as backhoes, excavators, bulldozers, graders, chainsaws and asphalt pavers – all so necessary to recovery efforts?
“Our rural and mining industries are not up for ransom in this debate. The federal government must immediately rule out changes to fuel tax credits to give industry and their dependent communities certainty and viability for the future.
“Every chance they get, the Greens try to undermine agriculture and mining, the sources of Australia’s competitiveness, jobs and economic performance.
“The Australia Institute cites the Fuel Tax Credits Scheme for vehicles used in mining, agriculture and other non-road purposes to be worth $5.1bn in 2010-11. If abolished, that would be a massive cost burden to place on mining and agriculture. Many businesses would not survive.”