Eligibility questioned

The bus industry’s views on the Fuel Indexation (Road Funding) Special Account Bill are clear

The bus industry is still pushing for more eligibility for fuel rebates and for the Australian Government to put more funding into public transport, after an appearance at the Australian Senate.

Bus Industry Confederation of Australia Executive Director Michael Apps appeared in front of the Economics Legislation Committee in early July.

He presented on the Fuel Indexation (Road Funding) Special Account Bill.

The bus industry receives the on-road diesel rebate in the same way as the trucking industry — all vehicles above 4.5 tonnes receive a 12.5 cents per litre rebate, according to Apps.

"The bus industry has the view that we should actually be eligible for the full excise rebate, similar to the mining industry, based on the fact that 80 per cent of the vehicles on the road are actually undertaking public transport or a school bus task," he says.

"They are actually taking cars off the road and are improving our environmental emissions and reducing congestion."

In the context of a road user charge, he says if you took into account those externalities, the bus industry would argue that they are eligible for the full 38 cents per litre rebate.

He says the BIC supports the increased indexation on the basis that those funds are hypothecated.

"We would argue that that revenue should be spent on public and active transport infrastructure — such as bus priority, bus rapid transit, park-and-ride facilities, cycling paths and pedestrian improvements," he says.

"We are concerned that funding going into this special account for roads should go to public transport but also, if it does go to roads, we can see that on the other side of the equation the government may find some savings in existing road funding and expenditure and cut it on the other side of the table."


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