The TWU has welcomed confirmation from the Federal Government that transport operators and owner drivers will see a return of the Fuel Tax Credit lifeline when the cuts to the fuel excise finish at the end of the month.
Correspondence from the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Catherine King on behalf of the Federal Government came in response to a letter sent to the Treasurer last month by a transport industry alliance of TWU, ARTIO, NRFA and NatRoad.
The Fuel Tax Credit is a longstanding lifeline to transport operators and drivers on razor-thin margins, which allows them to claim 18c per litre back on fuel. The Morrison Government provided no warning to the industry when the credit system was abolished at the time the excise was cut.
The removal of the credit meant the transport industry most affected by skyrocketing fuel costs received only 4c per litre relief while other road users saw a 22c reduction from the cuts to the excise.
Cost recovery is a critical component of any transport business, from large operators to one-truck owner drivers.
At the recent Jobs Summit, the Federal Government acted on a unanimous call for reform from a transport industry roundtable including Coles, Woolworths, Uber, DoorDash, major transport operators, industry groups and the TWU. Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke announced a plan to empower the Fair Work Commission to set enforceable standards in transport.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said:
“The return of the Fuel Tax Credit is an enormous relief particularly for owner drivers who operate small businesses often on a hair’s breadth. The Morrison Government ripped away their lifeline with no warning, leaving them scrambling with a sudden, unsustainable hike in their operating costs.
“The debacle highlights the urgent need for supply chain accountability to ensure cost recovery is not an uphill battle. Transport is the deadliest industry in Australia and one of the highest for insolvencies. Since the Coalition Government abolished a road safety watchdog in 2016, 1,119 people have been killed in truck crashes, 264 of them truck drivers.
“It is essential to get lifesaving reform off the ground. We welcome the Federal Government’s intention to make transport a fairer, safer, and more sustainable industry by setting enforceable standards through the Fair Work Commission.”