In this era of wide awareness about the need to reduce greenhouse emissions and debates about using pricing and market mechanisms to help achieve this, the state of Queensland maintains an absurd, expensive program of subsidising petrol by about eight cents a litre.
Of course it is politically very difficult for any government to abolish, because it would provide a golden opportunity for the Opposition of the day to run a populist campaign supporting cheaper petrol.
Not surprisingly, various inquiries have discovered that the whole eight cents is not fully passed on to the motorist. Rather than use this an a reason to justify the scrapping of such a totally ridiculous policy, the state government has explored various ways of trying to ensure the full rebate is passed on to the motorist.
Given the populist nature of the subsidy, it was very refreshing to see Brisbane’s Courier-Mail editorialise that, just maybe, with a looming recession and a huge greenhouse challenge, there might be better things for the state of Queensland to spend half a billion dollars a year on than making petrol a few cents a litre cheaper