Canberra: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing calls from within the government to temporarily scrap taxes on fuel to address record high prices.
The price of unleaded petrol has spiked to above A$2.2 ($1.6) per litre across the country from about 1.7 as a result of rising global oil prices, reports Xinhua news agency.
Amid the spike, Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg have been urged to cut the fuel excise — a flat tax placed on the sale of petrol, which is currently 44 cents per liter — in order to ease the cost of living pressures.
Susan McDonald, a government senator from Queensland, on Monday joined calls for the excise to be reduced, saying it was the “bluntest instrument” available to address the crisis.
“The idea of pausing the fuel excise, or a portion of it, I think is something that we’re going to have to look at,” she was quoted as saying by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“Because we just can’t afford to absorb the prices that we’re looking at currently,” she said.
Her comments came after Morrison on Sunday said that any move to lower the excise would be contained in the federal budget, which he and Frydenberg are expected to hand down later this month.
On Sunday, Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar conceded that the cost of living was a significant issue with a general election due to be held in May.
“There is no doubt the budget will seek to build the recovery, ensure that we keep our foot on the economic accelerator, but will also take into account the fact households are feeling the pressures of cost of living,” he told Sky News Australia.