THOUSANDS of Australians have answered a Queensland grandmother’s call to arms in protesting rising fuel prices.
More than 40,000 people have committed and a further 40,000 are interested in a national fuel strike organised by Sabrina Lamont, a motivated retired music teacher who lives off-grid just outside of Bundaberg, NewsRegional reports.
Ms Lamont is calling on the federal government to remove the burden of excise and taxes which accounts for more than 30 per cent of the cost of fuel at the bowser.
Fuel costs forced Ms Lamont to give up teaching music in the outback — a job she loved — about a year ago.
She could no longer afford to keep buying petrol to travel 500km a week to teach isolated children.
Last Wednesday Ms Lamont decided to take action and started the Facebook event ‘National Fuel Strike’.
Each hour the number of people saying they will join Ms Lamont in boycotting fuel on October 26 grows bigger.
Now Ms Lamont has a message for fuel companies and those in charge of taxing petrol; this won’t be the end of it.
“We will do this every month until we are listened to and prices come down and stay that way,” Ms Lamont told News Regional Media.
“The government must reduce tax on fuel — it’s theft and greed.
“It’s sad to see so many people hurting. I sometimes sit here and cry at night thinking about the suffering. I can be an emotional person.”
Federal government taxes and excise accounts for a significant portion of the retail cost of fuel, according to an RACQ fact sheet published this month.
At a cost of 137.6 cents a litre on regular unleaded fuel, Federal excise accounts for 40.9 cents of that retail price, while a further 12.5 cents is added in GST.
That’s 53.4 cents in taxes out of a cost of 137.6 cents per litre, which would be considered cheap.
While the RACQ said it understood drivers’ frustrations, the organisation believes a change it long-term habits would be more effective.
“It’s completely understandable that drivers are frustrated by the high fuel prices we’ve seen in recent months, and while one-off stunts like this may give motorists a feeling of empowerment, unfortunately, they’re unlikely to make a difference in the long-term,” RACQ spokeswoman Lucinda Ross said.
“We see many motorists continuing to buy from the most convenient site, often just because it’s on the way home from work — but these servos could be the ones charging the highest prices.
“If you’re in the south east, the best thing you can do to drive down prices is to avoid buying fuel at the top of the cycle — and regardless of where you are across the state, do your research and only ever buy from the cheapest servo in your area.”
In Brisbane’s north today, the average cost of fuel was 153.7 cents a litre.
In Bundaberg, it was 151.7 cents a litre.
Ms Lamont is hopeful unified protest, such as the one she has organised for next month, will bring about change.
“I am hoping the government will listen, or be removed, and someone will bring down taxes for basic living necessities — like fuel.
“The minute we lose hope (as a community) we are finished,” she said.
“Together we stand, divided we fall. That is the message I am trying to embed in people’s hearts and minds.”