Motorists will be hit with an increase in petrol prices from November 10 as the federal government moves to bypass a hostile Senate in order to raise revenue.
The government will use “tariff proposals”, much like Labor’s “alco-pop tax”, to pass the fuel excise increase, which is set to rise from 38.14 to 38.6 cents a litre.
The increase will raise $2.2 billion in revenue over the forward estimates.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann claimed the increase would cost the typical household about 40 cents per week.
Senator Cormann said further increases were expected in February and August 2015.
He said all revenue raised via the increase would be invested in job-creating infrastructure.
“The impact on households will be modest, but the impact on our ability to build a stronger and more prosperous economy will be significant.”
But opposition leader Bill Shorten labelled the move a “sneak tax on Australian voters”.
“Tony Abbott is so addicted to new taxes … that he’s now decided to bypass the parliament of Australia.”
Senator Cormann denied the government was attempting bypass a vote on the measure.
“This isn’t an attempt to get around the senate, it is using legislation as it currently stands.”
Senator Cormann told reporters the parliament would need to validate the measure within 12 months.
“If the measure is not validated within 12 months – and we’re confident it will be, by the way – the money would have to go back to those that have paid the excise and the duty,” he said.
“It will go back to fuel manufacturers and to fuel importers, who would essentially have a windfall gain at that time.”
But he said he expected Labor and the Greens to “see sense” within a year and that the money should be used for roads and not go back to fuel companies.
– with AAP