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Tuckey Reassures Timber Industry

Media Releases

The Hon Wilson Tuckey MP Minister for Forestry and Conservation

11 July 1999

Tuckey Reassures Timber Industry On Diesel Fuel Rebate Scheme

The Commonwealth Government will amend both the Customs and Excise Acts to take account of timber industry concerns over proposed changes to the Diesel Fuel Rebate Scheme, the Minister for Forestry and Conservation, Wilson Tuckey, said today.

"An inadvertent consequence of the passage of the overall package of amendments to the modified A New Tax System (ANTS) was that the forestry and timber processing industries are required to pay approximately six cents a litre more for off-road use of diesel," he said.

"That was not the intention of the Government and we will now take steps to address the problem. The Government is totally committed to expanding Australia's timber resources, and to encouraging regional economic and jobs growth in an innovative timber industry, while also balancing responsible environmental concerns.

"We are determined to reduce our dependence on imports of forest products. We must also explore the tremendous export opportunities presented in the Asia Pacific, where demand for wood fibre is expected to boom.

"I can assure the industry that the Government will do its utmost to ensure that industry is in a position to grow."

Mr Tuckey said the Government's legislative package for delivering ANTS would allow significant cost reductions to flow through to business, employment and economic growth in rural and regional Australia from 1 July 2000.

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"Removing the embedded taxes, a series of State taxes and wholesales sales tax is a welcome boost to the forestry sector and timber processing industries," he said.

Mr Tuckey noted that Australia's growing forest estate not only produces a secure resource for the timber processing industry, but has led to income diversification in the rural sector.

"It also realises a wide range of environmental benefits, from absorbing greenhouse gases in line with our commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, to boosting more ecologically sustainable land management."

"I advise you that this statement has the full support of the Prime Minister. I apologise that this inadvertent measure got into law before I noticed it; however, all usual consultation processes were dispensed with during the final days of the Autumn Sitting, and I had been advised previously, as was intended, that off-highway forestry was to remain unchanged.

"However, even as things stand, the benefits arising from the 23 cents a litre reduction in on-highway diesel and the 43 cents a litre reduction to rail would be a considerable improvement on the present situation."

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