New fuel subsidy scheme to be axed?

Queensland may scrap new fuel subsidy scheme, which would have barred interstate truck drivers from accessing discounted fuel

By Brad Gardner

The Queensland Government is expected to scrap plans to alter the State’s fuel subsidy scheme, which would have barred interstate truck drivers from accessing discounted fuel.

It has been reported the Government is about to dump its proposed barcode discount plan due to opposition from petrol stations and motoring groups over the cost of implementing it.

Under the scheme, service stations would advertise fuel at full price, but Queensland residents would receive the 8.35 cents per litre discount upon paying.

The scheme, criticised by the Transport Workers Union (TWU), was scheduled to be in place by April this year following concerns petrol companies were not passing on the full subsidy to motorists.

TWU Queensland Branch Secretary Hughie Williams says the scheme should be abandoned to ensure all truck drivers can benefit from discounted fuel.

"I think the way the subsidy is at present works well," Williams says.

He claims there will be a spike in the cost of everyday goods if interstate drivers are banned from accessing the subsidy, adding it will hurt families already struggling to pay bills and buy groceries.

"If there is an increase in the cost of fuel, then someone has got to pay. And that will be the consumer," Williams says.

The Opposition, which opposes the Government’s barcode scheme, claims it is unworkable and expensive.

"From the start, the Liberal-National Party warned the barcode discount system was unlikely to work and, in the end, would cost retailers and consumers more," shadow treasurer Tim Nicholls says.

Although the Government has not confirmed whether its approach to the subsidy has changed, Nicholls claims it may scrap the scheme.

"I’m now concerned the decision to scrap the scheme is a sign the Bligh Labor government is softening Queenslanders up to dump the $540 million scheme altogether as it desperately tries to balance the books," he says.

According to Nicholls, the proposed barcode system has been plagued by problems since being announced by the Government.

ATN has contacted Treasurer Andrew Fraser’s office for comment.

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