nrma says slash fuel excise

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    SYDNEY, Sept 12 AAP - The federal and NSW governments should
    slash fuel taxes to ease the burden on families facing soaring fuel
    bills, the NRMA says.
    The world oil price has skyrocketed in recent weeks and the cost
    of unleaded fuel is predicted to reach $1.45 a litre in
    metropolitan Sydney this week.
    The NRMA, NSW's motoring organisation which is also Australia's
    largest, has called for an emergency summit involving the NSW and
    federal governments, oil companies, service stations, consumer and
    motoring groups on September 22 to find ways to ease pressure on
    household budgets.
    Australian Business Limited (ABL) has warned consumers faced
    higher prices for goods and services because of record petrol
    But Prime Minister John Howard has dismissed the NRMA's proposed
    fuel summit as a "talkfest" that would achieve nothing.
    NRMA Motoring and Services director Gary Punch today said that
    if governments and oil companies ignored the views of the NRMA's
    2.5 million members it would be "at their peril".
    The NSW government had already confirmed its attendance at the
    summit, he said.
    "Motorists have simply had enough," Mr Punch told reporters.
    "The price per litre of petrol that consumers are paying at the
    bowser day after day now is simply unsustainable for ordinary
    "We need some emergency relief - whether it be permanently, or
    Mr Punch said the federal government collected $13 billion a
    year in fuel excise and had to consider reducing the tax.
    "At $1.30 a litre, the ordinary punter is paying 50 cents of
    that $1.30 in taxes," he said.
    "The cutting of excise is something that only the federal and
    state governments can agree to.
    "There's certainly a case, I think, in the minds of many
    motorists, that some temporary relief will necessarily have to
    involve some cut in excise."
    Mr Punch urged oil companies to be more transparent in their
    pricing, and called on the Australian Competition and Consumer
    Commission (ACCC) to put more effort into detecting profiteering in
    the petrol industry.
    Earlier this month, Mr Howard ruled out cutting the excise,
    saying it would cost the government billions of dollars.
    "I'm sorry, and I know this is not a popular thing to say, and I
    know people are hurting, but the fact is, to have any appreciable
    impact on the price, you're looking at billions and billions," Mr
    Howard said at the time.
    Cutting the excise by just one cent a litre would cost the
    federal government $380 million, and motorists would want a cut of
    at least five to 10 cents a litre, Mr Howard said.
    ABL spokesman Paul Ritchie today said families were spending
    less on "discretionary" things such as eating out at restaurants
    and enjoying weekends away.
    He said the ACCC needed to intervene and monitor petrol prices.
    "It's clear that there will be price increases ... because of
    the significant lift in petrol prices," Mr Ritchie told reporters.
    Average metropolitan unleaded prices today were $1.30 a litre in
    Sydney, $1.28 in Melbourne, $1.30 in Brisbane, 131.1 in Adelaide,
    and 133.6 in Hobart.
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