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22 March, 2022

Fuel hike hits hard

ESCALATING fuel prices are set to push up the cost of just about everything as unleaded petrol and diesel eclipse the $2 mark and are set to go even higher, amid growing calls for the Federal Government to follow New Zealand’s lead and cut the fuel excise.

By Robyn Holmes

The rising cost of fuel has been attributed to the volatile global crude oil market which has seen prices rise to $US120 a barrel in recent weeks, driven by sanctions imposed on Russia over its war with Ukraine. 

Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths have already foreshadowed groceries will start to rise, Qantas has admitted airfares will go up, and experts are tipping nearly everything will be dearer, especially in regional areas like the Tablelands region which is reliant upon transport companies to bring materials and goods up north. 

Mareeba Shire Council is also experiencing a significant rise in its operational costs from the fuel hike but also for all materials, with CEO Peter Franks confirming a report would be brought to council next month that would detail the additional costs being borne by council as it heads into the 2022-23 budget. 

“We get a discounted price but it is variable – we have been hit really hard, it’s a major impact on us,” Mr Franks said. 

Mareeba’s largest transport company is already feeling the pinch and has been forced to start passing on a portion of the price rise to its customers. 

Mareeba Transport has a fleet of 20 trucks, transporting materials like fertiliser, and general goods and materials and according to owner Colin Parsons, they have passed on half of the increase in diesel to its clients. 

He revealed his company is paying $24,000 more a month than it did a year ago for fuel. 

“Every time they put up the price of a barrel of oil by $1, our price goes up by one cent. That’s seems small but when you consider that the cost of a barrel of oil has almost doubled in the past six months, it does start to add up,” he said. 

Mr Parsons said to fill a truck up at the bowser at the moment would cost around $3000 and that only lasted about 4-5 days. 

“We have had no choice but to pass on about half of the increase we have had to our customers – we try to give them a month’s notice but we have no choice, if the wheels don’t turn then we don’t pay the bills,” he said. 

He was not convinced that the Federal Government would seek to do anything to reduce the rising cost of fuel when it was collecting an excise of 44 cents for every litre of fuel purchased. It also collects 10 per cent in GST for every litre bought. 

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has called for the Government to cut the excise, and with a Federal election looming, it is understood some MPs are keen for the government to reduce cost of living pressures. 

New Zealand has already acted, announcing it will cut its fuel excise of 77 cents a litre by 25 cents a litre from 1 April.

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