Taxis hit if fuel tax increases

Fuel costs up: Taxi driver Scott Parker expects to be hit hard by the federal budget.

Fuel costs up: Taxi driver Scott Parker expects to be hit hard by the federal budget.

AS Australians prepare to feel the brunt of the changes in the federal budget this week, a change to the fuel excise may hit businesses and people the hardest. 

The increase to the tax would be the first since 2001 and is one of a variety of changes expected as the government considers a series of measures in its belt-tightening budget.

Ballarat taxi owner and driver and Scott Parker is one of the people who may be hit the hardest by the potential change.

“It will impact the industry in a negative way,” he said. “Recent state government changes to the taxi industry have made it extremely difficult to make a living in a taxi.

“I would go as far to say there are drivers in Ballarat who are not even making a living. That is a fact.”

It has been reported Treasurer Joe Hockey is considering raising the excise by up to three cents a litre.

Mr Parker said he believed the potential changes would only exacerbate the problems taxi drivers were already facing and he would be watching closely to see what happened on Tuesday night. 

A fare increase was announced recently, however Mr Parker said that increase had not taken into account the latest potential changes to fuel prices. 

“Mr Abbott is the one who got up before the election and said there would be no new taxes. As far as I am concerned, he has made his bed, he can lay in it,” he said. 

Mr Parker said most taxis ran on a duel-fuel system, meaning they still needed to run on petrol for a percentage of the time. 

Some taxi drivers have now switched over to a hybrid vehicle, however Mr Parker said those vehicles still needed to use petrol as well. 

Australian Industry Group regional manager Kay Macaulay said the change would increase the cost of doing business across the region. 

“The government is trying to get people to move out of the city and to regional areas,” she said. “However, this is just an added cost of doing businesses in a regional area. Regional companies rely on transport.”

Ms Macaulay said it wouldn’t just be trucking companies and taxis that would feel the brunt of the increase, as any business with a fleet of cars could feel the pain if the increase was included in Tuesday’s budget.

matthew.dixon@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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