A multibillion-dollar hole has been blown in the Abbott government’s budget after the Greens revealed they will not support an increase to fuel tax.
Greens leader Christine Milne has said her party will not vote for the measure because the government does not plan to reinvest the money in public transport or cut fuel subsidies for large mining companies.
The tax hike is now doomed to fail in the Senate with Labor, the Palmer United Party and the Greens all opposed, leaving the government with a revenue shortfall of about $2.4 billion over the next four years.
The Greens said they would vote the measure down without negotiating. Senator Milne said her party wanted to tackle pollution and therefore Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s plan for fuel excise made no sense because the money would be reinvested into roads.
She said the fuel excise hike was simply a tax on families who had little or no access to public transport while large mining companies continued to claim fuel subsidies.
“This is a difficult issue for the Greens because we do want to move away from polluting fuels,’’ Senator Milne said. ‘‘We said from the beginning that we would need to see the detail of the proposal.
“Now that we have seen the legislation, it is completely clear that the Abbott government’s proposal is worse than a zero sum game for pollution.
“Investing all the money in roads, making congestion and pollution worse, and letting the big miners get off scot-free means we cannot support the bill.’’