AXING OF FUEL SUBSIDY TO HURT COUNTRY & COASTAL FAMILIES, PUT NSW FURTHER BEHIND

AXING OF FUEL SUBSIDY TO HURT COUNTRY & COASTAL FAMILIES, PUT NSW FURTHER BEHIND

11 November 2008

The Nationals Member for Lismore Thomas George said today that the Rees Labor Government’s plans to scrap subsidies for petrol in Northern NSW would hurt country and coastal people in northern NSW communities.

The Australian reported today that Treasurer Eric Roozendaal had confirmed the $44 million per year petrol subsidy scheme operating in northern NSW will be scrapped in tomorrow's mini-budget.

The subsidy put the region on par with Queensland, which offers a subsidy of 8.35 cents a litre. The subsidy is implemented at 8.35 cents a litre near the border, which scales down to 1.67 cents at Nambucca Heads.

“This heartless move from State Labor will cause a lot of hardship for people who live in my electorate, just south of the Queensland border,” Mr George said.

“People in this area are already doing it tough with petrol prices higher in the regions than in Sydney.

“By cutting the petrol subsidy scheme, there is a real concern that people will leave NSW and go to Queensland.

“There will be a loss of jobs in Northern Rivers and that is the last thing people need right now going into an economic downturn.

“Many road transport operators are based in this area so this decision will drive up freight costs and therefore petrol prices across the board in NSW.

“The NSW Labor Government is acting against the interests of people in this State - the only people who will benefit from scrapping the scheme will be across the border in Queensland.”

Mr George said NSW residents will be hit hard, particularly with Queensland Premier Anna Bligh looking to exclude NSW residents from the subsidy scheme operating north of the border.

“The effects on businesses in the area will be enormous, particularly with Queensland excluding NSW residents at the beginning of next year,” Mr George said.

“This is a shocking decision that will have a minimal impact on the size of the budget deficit, which is understood to be up to $1 billion.

“This comes on top of decision to axe free School Bus Travel and the $50 Back to School Allowance. With Northern NSW communities having amongst the lowest family income levels in the State, scrapping these programs will impact on families already struggling with the cost of living.

“The decision to scrap the petrol subsidy is a terrible decision from a terrible State Government,” Mr George said.

Lismore Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403
Email: lismore@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Murwillumbah Contact Details:

Telephone: 02 6672 7577