Long wait for fuel fix

IT’S likely to be weeks if not months before fuel price relief is felt at the bowser on King Island.

Residents are already subjected to some of the highest prices in the country which is unlikely to change even with the Federal Government’s decision to temporarily halve the fuel excise tax in this week’s Federal Budget.

This week fuel prices on King Island hovered around $2.33 a litre for diesel and unleaded.

It’s expected the lower fuel prices – prompted by the Federal Government’s move to cut the excise by 22 cents a litre – won’t be felt until the tanks are refilled at the island’s storage facility.

It’s claimed the excise reduction will save motorists an average of $12 on 60-70 litre tank of fuel.

The Federal Government claims a family running two cars regularly is poised to save up to $700 over the six month period the excise is being halved.

The RACT has welcomed the move but says it is just the beginning.

The organisation is pushing for more of the fuel excise funds to be spent on road upgrades around Tasmania.

It’s possible some businesses or farmers who bought in bulk to avoid future price rises due to worldwide supply issues, may have also hedged the wrong way and be unable to take advantage of cheaper prices for some time.

Frosi Transport owner Steve Fosi is hopeful prices will fall.

“I buy fuel every few days directly from TasPorts so I am totally dependent on what they do with the excise cut,” Mr Frosi said.
“I would expect they will pass it on. I have worked in their fuel business and I have found them to be very good at this sort of thing.”

Jed Weitjens buys fuel direct from off the island. He said it was a waiting game to see when the reduction took effect and if his supplier passed on the lower charge.

“There’s more than excise that impacts the price as I need to maintain storage while using a weekly shipping service that can be delayed or have schedule changes,” Mr Weitjens said.

Eliza Williams from the King Island Petrol Station said it made no real difference to her as they had a fixed margin.

The business gets a bill from TasPorts and the prices will depend on how much fuel is still sitting in current storage.

In addition to the fuel excise cuts, the Tasmanian Government has taken steps to alleviate transport costs by making travel on public buses free across the state for the next five weeks.

Those on King Island say there’s no benefit to them given there are no buses, or indeed no public transport on King Island.

There have been calls for the Government to find an alternative way to compensate islanders and ease the cost of living pressures.

The Federal Budget included a one-off payment of $250 for those on Centrelink payments and concession cards while other income earners are set to benefit from additional payments at tax time of between $420 and $1500 as part of the Low and Middle Income Tax Offset.

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