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GrainGrowers has called on the Federal Government to assure growers that the Fuel Tax Credit Scheme will be maintained in the upcoming budget.

The call follows a report by the Grattan Institute calling for fuel tax credits to be halved.

GrainGrowers Chair Rhys Turton said the call was poorly timed and ill-advised, highlighting a fundamental lack of understanding of the current pressures facing agricultural supply chains.

Mr Turton said the Fuel Tax Credit Scheme helped ensure fuel used on-farm to produce food did not carry an additional heavy financial burden.

“These vehicles are not using our roads, and any cuts would effectively force growers to subsidise road users. The system as it currently stands ensures farmers are not disadvantaged in the production of essential goods.”

Mr Turton said the grains industry faces significant cost pressures caused by damaged supply chains, and additional unnecessary costs could not be tolerated.

“Damaged supply chains have already cost the Australian economy $5 billion, with family budgets taking a hit from the resultant skyrocketing food prices. Changes to the scheme would deliver higher costs and reduce the ability of farmers to continue to produce high-quality food efficiently.”

“The simplistic solution is flawed as it would actually diminish the ability of farmers to adapt and respond to the challenges of climate change.”

“A cornerstone priority for GrainGrowers is working to help farmers understand their carbon footprint and transition to a lower carbon future.”

Mr Turton said the Grattan Institute’s suggestion that farmers switch to low-emission machinery and technology was not feasible at the current time.

“GrainGrowers and the broader industry have investigated the work being done on alternate energy options for powering farm machinery, and while we support this innovation, the reality is that a practical solution is some time away.

We do however look forward to working with experts to accelerate the development and uptake of alternative energy options, as they become available."

Mr Turton said farmers across the country facing skyrocketing inputs prices would be horrified by this simplistic and ill-informed call for cuts to the fuel tax credits.

“The government must take into account the impact on primary industry and dismiss the call,” Mr Turton said.


Media contact:

Chris Rowley