The ever increasing cost of diesel is causing a financial crisis for contract carriers (owner-drivers) in the road transport industry. In support of contract carriers, the Transport Workers’ Union in NSW (TWU) has now filed a claim in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission for an increase to rates paid to essential owner-drivers carrying freight under the General Carriers Contract Determination.
The rates that contract carriers are being paid were set was when diesel costs were around $1.23 a litre. Now they are averaging $2.18 a litre at the pump.
Richard Olsen, NSW State Secretary of the TWU said “We are going to the courts to seek relief for owner-drivers under extraordinary circumstances. The inaction from the Federal Government, who should be finding a way to relieve transport operators, has forced our hand.”
“As an industry representative we are hearing first-hand the financial burden owner drivers are under. This is why the TWU is in the courts, seeking relief. In light of past performance, we currently do not trust that the varying levels of Government will adequately respond to the needs of the transport industry.”
“The transport industry needs direct, targeted support for those who need it most, truck drivers and transport operators who are trying to keep alive, safe and viable small businesses whilst continuing to carry the goods,” Mr Olsen said.
Every litre of fuel that goes into a truck, attracts a 44.2 cents per litre fuel excise. Removing that could be the first step in helping transport operators stay on track financially.
Everything is moved by a truck. Owner Drivers are carrying fresh produce, general freight, parcels, furniture and more. As small business operators they are absorbing the increasing costs of doing the job. This places increasing pressure on their ability to maintain safe vehicles whilst covering a growing list of increasing expenses including Transurban toll road costs, insurance, finance costs on their vehicles and now diesel.
“Owner-drivers are no longer working to support their households, they are simply working to pay the costs of getting the job done in delivering the goods,” Richard Olsen said.
The TWU in NSW is seeking a practical response from the Federal and State Governments. Transport is a critical industry.
It is unacceptable that the Federal Government is absent in offering relief to small business operators driving our economy forward.
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