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Essential to pass on costs with ‘more pain ahead’, warns peak trucking body


The trucking sector is bracing itself for more pain with a host of small but collectively significant rises in costs kicking in from Saturday, the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) warned today.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark said businesses with fewer than 50 employees, and owner-operator truck driving companies need to ‘hang tough’ in the new financial year, with most if not all cost rises beyond their control.

He is urging operators to transparently pass on costs after consultation, wherever possible.

“Operators should look at strategies like locking in customers to long-term contracts, putting on a fuel surcharge or improving efficiency without compromising safety,” Clark said.

“If you have flexibility in your business arrangements, the important thing is to discuss any changes with customers and be clear about the reasons.”

Clark said the Fair Work Commission’s decision to increase modern award wages has substantially increased labour costs for many small businesses.

The minimum wage will rise 5.75 per cent to $859.32 a week from July 1. Modern award minimum wages will increase by 5.75 per cent.

The legislated increase in superannuation contributions from 10.5 per cent to 11 per cent will add to this.

“NatRoad has flagged workers’ compensation premiums as the ‘sleeper’ cost issue of 2023-24, and nobody knows with any certainty where diesel fuel costs are going.

“Now is the time to review employee and customer contracts, ensure you’re across the changes and plan ahead wherever possible.”

In March, the Victorian Government announced its average workers compensation scheme premium rate is increasing from 1.272 per cent to 1.8 per cent – a rise of almost 42 per cent.

In NSW, road transport faces an average rate increase of 14 per cent. The hikes are more modest in other jurisdictions, said Clark.

He also reminded operators that from July 1 this year the Road User Charge (RUC) and the roads component of registration fees will both rise by six per cent.

“The charge on diesel equates to an increase from 27.2 cents per litre to 28.8c. The rise in heavy vehicle registration varies from state to state,” Clark said.

“What is less generally known is that the federal government has announced a six-month, 50 per cent reduction in fuel excise for diesel used in eligible trucks on public roads from July 1, from 20.5 cents per litre to 18.9c.

“This is to partially offset the high price of diesel and soften the impact of the rise in the RUC.”

Clark said it was important for transport companies to update their payroll systems to make sure they are paying entitlements correctly and be across the many changes.

“For example, the entitlement of 18 weeks paid parental leave pay will be combined with the Dad and Partner Pay entitlement of two weeks pay.

“This means that partnered couples can claim up to 20 weeks paid parental leave between them. Parents who are single at the time of their claim can access the full 20 weeks.

“Employers must ensure they have finalised employees’ Single Touch Payroll data by July 14.”

Toll prices will rise on many motorways. On the Melbourne CityLink and Sydney’s Cross City Tunnel, Eastern Distributor, Lane Cove Tunnel, M2, M5 West, NorthConnex and Westlink M7, a quarterly rise in line with the Consumer Price Index applies from this weekend.

In Queensland, annual rises for the Clem7, Gateway Motorway, GoBetween Bridge, Legacy Way and Logan Motorway also take effect from July 1.

Clark, however, said it’s not all bad news.

“Small businesses, with aggregated turnover of less than $10 million will be able to immediately deduct the full cost of eligible assets costing less than $20,000 that are first used or installed ready for use between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024,” he said.

“Assets worth $20,000 or more, which cannot be immediately deducted, can be placed into the small business simplified depreciation pool and depreciated at 15 per cent in the first income year and 30 per cent each income year thereafter.

“The corporate tax rate for small businesses turning over less than $50m will reduce to 25 per cent.

“The total cost claimable and the number of businesses eligible for the Instant Asset Write-Off are being reduced, although Loss Carry Back provisions have been continued for another year.”

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