Consumer watchdog will crack down on rising gas prices when tax cut ends, says Labor | cost of living crisis

Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers has called on the competition watchdog to crack down on any price increases when the gas tax cut expires at the end of September.

The letter to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, published on Monday, confirms the government’s intention to reintroduce “the full excise duty” on September 29. It was cut in half for six months in the March budget.

The government also revealed that 4.7 million Australians will see an increase in support payments from September 20 due to regular indexing. Payments that include pension and job search will rise 4% in line with the consumer price index in the six months to June.

Parliament resumes for the last session of the fortnight before the October budget on Monday with the cost of living as a priority. The Reserve Bank will likely raise the official interest rate further on Tuesday.

With gasoline prices soaring due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, drivers got some relief at gas stations in March when the Morrison government halved excise duties to 22.1 cents a liter at a cost of $ 3 billion for the budget. The Albanian government repeatedly warned that it was unlikely to extend the measure.

On August 18, Chalmers wrote to the ACCC requesting help to ensure that oil companies “do not take advantage of the expiry of the fuel excise tax reduction to penalize consumers.”

Chalmers pointed to the ACCC’s role in monitoring prices, costs and profits, telling it to “intensify these efforts in the period before and after September 29.”

The watchdog must “investigate any concerns raised about misrepresentation of gasoline prices, false and misleading conduct, or anti-competitive conduct in fuel markets, and take appropriate action,” the treasurer said.

“I hope the ACCC will engage with major retailers and wholesalers to ensure Australian consumers are not misled about the justification for any price increases.”

In a statement on Monday, Chalmers said “refiners, importers, wholesalers and retailers should consider themselves on notice: the ACCC is keeping a very close eye on fuel prices across the country to make sure any increase is justifiable.” .

“There should be no doubt that if there is evidence of misleading or anti-competitive conduct by fuel retailers, the ACCC will take action.”

With inflation targeting 7.75% by the end of the year, the RBA is expected to raise the official cash rate by another 40-50 basis points on Tuesday to 2.35%.

The hike would be the fifth consecutive hike after the bank began raising the cash rate in May from the 0.1% emergency level set in November 2020.

Social security payments will increase by 4%, which will increase the old-age pension, disability support pension and carer’s payment by $38.90 per fortnight for singles and $58.80 for couples.

The maximum pension rate will increase to $1,026.50 per fortnight for singles and $773.80 for each member of a pensioner couple or $1,547.60 per couple, including pension and energy supplements.

Help for job seekers, parents, Abstudy and rent will also increase.

The job search rate for singles without children will increase by $25.70 per fortnight to a maximum of $677.20, while foster payments for singles will increase by $35.20 per fortnight to $927.40.

Federal Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the increase in indexation, which is linked to the consumer price index, was the largest in more than 30 years for allowances and 12 years for pensions.

“We want to make sure that Australia has a strong social safety net to protect the most disadvantaged,” Rishworth said. “Our guiding principles as a government are to ensure that no one is left behind and no one is held back, and this increased indexation will help those receiving government payments keep up with the cost of living.”

Despite calls at the jobs summit to uplift jobseekers from groups including the Australian Council of Social Services, the Albanian government has said it will not do so in the October budget.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.