An MP who represents the biggest federal electorate in New South Wales and thousands of farmers has slammed a proposal to slash fuel tax credits. The Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton has described an Australian Conservation Foundation plan to cap fuel tax credit claims at $20,000 per claimant by 2018-19 as “disastrous for farmers and the State’s regional economy”. Mr Coulton said ACF claims that the proposed cap would not adversely affect farmers were ludicrous and proved the Greens affiliated organisation was completely out of touch with rural and regional communities. “They simply don’t understand the complexities faced by the agriculture sector and how this shallow, unrealistic and ill-conceived idea would damage the economic viability of the farmers and producers of our nation” Mr Coulton said. “The rebate ensures that farmers are not being taxed for road-use when they are not using our roads and covers fuel used for activities such as irrigation and harvesting” he added. He said the fuel tax credits scheme (FTCS), more commonly known as the diesel fuel rebate, had been the subject of a lot of discussion particularly in the lead up to last year’s Federal budget. Mr Coulton said farmers were at the time relieved the Coalition Government did not cut the rebate particularly at a time when much of New South Wales and Queensland were being ravaged by drought. “Much of my electorate is still in the grip of one of the worst droughts in history and farmers are battling to stay on the land so for the ACF to suggest a cap on fuel tax credits are an absolute insult” Mr Coulton said. “Most broad acre famers and irrigators in my electorate use large amounts of diesel and a $20,000 cap would be a fraction of what they currently claim” he said. Mr Coulton said alarm bells on the issue starting ringing for him when a list of demands was attached to the front of his Moree office by the local Lock the Gate alliance prior to the last election. “One of these demands was the removal of the diesel rebate” he said. Mr Coulton said farmers were being caught up in a misguided and adversely tainted Greens agenda which did not understand the diesel fuel rebate system in its entirety and failed to recognise the importance of farmers and their future.