After the government cut the fuel tax excise last week, it didn’t take long for the trucking industry to realise that all was not as good as it seemed.
With all the hoo-haa about how the excise was halved to 22.1 cents a litre for six months, one thing the government didn’t shout from the rooftops was the fact that Fuel Tax Credits (FTC) would also be scrapped during that period.
The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has joined many in the industry who are calling for the Australian Government to immediately restore Fuel Tax Credits for transport operators. Failure to do so, it says, would “risk driving many trucking small businesses to the wall”.
NatRoad CEO Warren Clark said his members have flooded his office with complaints since the association raised concerns the day after the Budget was announced.
Clark says the Treasury’s fact sheet issued on Budget night says the effective reduction for heavy vehicle operators on public roads is only 4.3 cents per litre.
The anomaly between cars and heavy vehicles travelling on public roads is because those trucks have their fuel tax credit reduced by the Road User Charge (RUC).
The current RUC is 26.4 cents a litre and the excise paid by heavy vehicles is now 22.1 cents per litre.
The Government has reduced the FTC for heavy vehicles on public roads from 17.8 cents a litre to zero.
“It is the strong view of NatRoad that the Morrison Government has erred significantly in its removal of the Fuel Tax Rebate,” Clark said. “Most truck operators are small businesses and they can’t afford this.
“If the Budget measure proceeds in its current form, it will have devastating outcomes for road freight operators who are already reeling under the weight of issues like driver shortages, supply chain difficulties and cost pressures.
“Removing the rebate is invisible to a customer and there is already significant pushback when an operator tries to pass on its loss.
“The government must remember that transport costs are a significant driver of increases in the cost of living and that this impacts on thousands of businesses.
“The government must explain why the transport industry is being denied the cost-of-living relief that’s being offered to every other fuel user.”