April 12, 2022


Media Inquiries – Colin Henderson – 0405625208


The sharp, unprecedented rise in diesel fuel costs has seen Owner Drivers in the transport industry face a living financial hell. The cost of simply doing the job to carry freight is getting higher. Transurban toll road costs are on the rise, insurance costs continue to rise and now fuel costs are breaking small business operators across the transport industry.

The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) has successfully filed a claim in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission for an increase to the rates paid under the General Carriers Contract Determination in NSW. The Orders won in the commission are at the bottom of this media release.

This order from the IRC provides some relief to Owner-Drivers in terms of their cost recovery for doing the job of carrying freight for their clients.

TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen said, “The TWU have taken this action today in the Industrial Relations Commission to protect small businesses in the transport industry, the Owner-Drivers. This action contributes to the security and wellbeing of their future.”

“In light of past performance, the TWU is not surprised that the varying levels of government provided inadequate responses to the needs of small business in the transport industry,” Mr Olsen said.

The cost of fuel is at unprecedented levels for the transport industry. The rates that owner-drivers are being paid were set when diesel costs were around $1.23 a litre. With prices as high as $2.21 a litre, it is why the TWU went to the Commission for relief for owner-drivers.

The Federal Government’s wholly inadequate plan to reduce the fuel excise is cold comfort to owner-drivers forced to absorb extortionate diesel prices. In an outrageous act that was hidden amongst budget papers, the Federal Government also removed the fuel tax credit scheme, which resulted in almost a zero benefit to owner-drivers trying to recover their fuel costs. Effectively, the Liberal Government sat on its hands again and provided no relief to these small business operators.

Richard Olsen said, “This means that the Federal Government is not committed to the transport industry, they have robbed truck drivers of any benefit the fuel excise cuts brought.”

The TWU had written to the Prime Minister demanding that in the absence of a tribunal to support cost recovery, the Federal Government must provide targeted support which puts money directly into the pockets of truck owner drivers on razor-thin margins. This did not occur.”

According to a TWU survey conducted in 2021, three in four owner-drivers had worked for no profit and nearly two thirds were constantly worried they would need to sell their truck to get by. More than half said they had been forced to delay maintenance to their trucks because they could not afford it.

This was before fuel prices spiked.

Orders have been made today by the IRC in NSW that come into effect on 18 April.

1.1 This Schedule applies to all Contracts of Carriage to which Part 4 of this Determination applies, other than Contracts of Carriage performed by a Light Vehicle.


2.1 This Schedule was introduced by the IRC in Matter No. 2022/77087 as a temporary measure to respond to significant fluctuations in the price of fuel arising from the war in Ukraine and the temporary inability for Contract Carriers to claim fuel tax credits.

3.1 In addition to all other amounts set out in this Determination, a Principal Contractor must pay a Contract Carrier an additional amount (the Temporary Fuel Surcharge).

3.2 For pay periods commencing between 18 April 2022 and 16 May 2022, the Temporary Fuel Surcharge shall be:

Vehicle Carrying CapacitySurcharge
(per km)
Rigid-carrying capacity over 3 and including 5 tonnes$0.11
Rigid-carrying capacity over 5 and including 8 tonnes$0.18
Rigid-carrying capacity over 8 and including 10 tonnes$0.27
Rigid-carrying capacity over 10 and including 12 tonnes$0.27
Rigid-carrying capacity over 12 and including 14 tonnes$0.27
Rigid-carrying capacity over 14 tonnes or more$0.34
Single Axle Prime Mover$0.34
Bogie Axle Prime Mover$0.42

Where Schedule C (which deals with waterfront and container depots) applies to a Contact of Carriage, the Principal Contractor may elect to pay the following Temporary Fuel Surcharge in lieu of the amount in clause 3.2:

Vehicle Carrying CapacitySurcharge
(per hour)
Rigid-carrying capacity over 8 and including 10 tonnes$3.72
Rigid-carrying capacity over 10 and including 12 tonnes$3.72
Rigid-carrying capacity over 12 and including 14 tonnes$3.72
Rigid-carrying capacity over 14 tonnes or more$4.77
Single Axle Prime Mover$4.79
Bogie Axle Prime Mover$5.81



4.1 The Temporary Fuel Surcharge shall be reviewed on a monthly basis.

4.2 The Temporary Fuel Surcharge shall be calculated by updating the fuel component of the Cost Model with the mean of all weekly retail diesel prices (NSW State Average) published by the Australian Institute of Petroleum for weeks ending in the prior calendar month.

4.3 Parties shall calculate the Temporary Fuel Surcharge and provide the results to by the second Monday of each calendar month.

4.4 The revised Temporary Fuel Surcharge will apply from the third Monday in each month.

4.5 As the Temporary Fuel Surcharge responds to fluctuations in fuel prices, it may or decrease from time to time.


5.1 The Temporary Fuel Surcharge may be offset by any payments made to a Contract Carrier in excess of the amounts prescribed elsewhere in this Determination.

5.2 Leave is reserved for any party to apply to vary the operation of this Schedule in circumstances where the Principal Contractor:

a)     provides the Contract Carrier with fuel, either for free or at a cost below the

b)    prevailing market rate;

c)     directly reimburses the Contract Carrier for some or all of their fuel costs; or

d)    otherwise compensates the Contract Carrier for their fuel costs


Media Inquiries – Colin Henderson – 0405625208


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