Riverina residents are feeling frustrated with the prospect of more petrol price hikes with the federal government’s fuel excise set to end in September.

Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers told a Guardian Australia podcast that Australians should expect the federal fuel price relief to end in September, after the previous Coalition government announced a fuel cost decrease of 22.1 cents per litre in its March budget.

“Nothing has substantially changed to make me think that we could continue that indefinitely, or even for a substantially longer period than September,” he said.

The news has been met with confusion and frustration from many Riverina residents, including Steven Thompson of Leeton who said he had to quit his job and apply for somewhere closer because his daily commute was too expensive.

“It’s crap. I drive about 120km a day to get to work and back and that’s half my wages spent driving,” Mr Thompson said.

“The government needs to do more to ease the burden on everyone, especially truckies. Everything’s going up, except the wages.”

Fellow Riverina resident Sidney Quince agreed and labelled the price hikes as “silly”.

“If it’s not food then it’s fuel,” she said. “This is only going to make things harder for the people already doing it tough.”

In the same podcast interview, Mr Chalmers said the country would be better off once it got through the current difficult period, adding that Australia’s opportunities would eventually outweigh its challenges.

With unleaded 91 fuel currently hovering around just over $2, the looming end to the fuel excise means prices could rise another 20 cents per litre.

The price could be much higher for those with cars that run on premium 95 and 98 fuels.

“I think it’s unfeasible for country people,” said Riverina resident John Napier.

“If you look a the price of crude oil in comparison to the price of petrol now, what we’re paying is a little bit ludicrous. It’s making things very difficult out here in the country.”

Mr Napier said he would like to see the federal government take a more home-grown approach and reintroduce oil refineries in Australia rather than rely on imported overseas product.

Riverina resident Maria Teusner agreed that people living in rural areas were most likely to suffer from climbing fuel prices given metropolitan residents benefit from having a public transport option.

“I don’t live here in Leeton, I drove over here today for a doctor. I have to drive wherever I need to go for most things. We don’t have public transport options out here,” she said.

“I don’t know whether we just have to adapt or drive less.”

Extracted in full from: Riverina residents confused, frustrated with looming fuel price rises | The Daily Advertiser | Wagga Wagga, NSW

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