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Victorian tippers call off protest action after fuel levy breakthrough

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Disgruntled tip truck drivers in Melbourne have called off proposed stop-work action today after the state government agreed to increase rates.

Victorian Tippers United (VTU) members had voted to down tools and park up in front of the state parliament if the government did not sweeten its hourly rate to help off-set skyrocketing diesel prices.

In a Facebook note to members late last week, VTU secretary Luke McCrone advised that the government rates would be increasing to $97.79 for tandem, $139.91 for truck and trailer, and $152.65 for quads, somewhere between $5-$12 per hour, depending on truck size.

“I understand that leaves out in the cold those of us, me included, who are not doing work on government projects,” McCrone added.

“But the other thing that is happening in the background is that we know agencies are all very keen to implement some sort of a fuel levy.”

McCrone said the VTU is trying to create an environment to help agencies get a higher rate agreed to across the board.

“Once this new [government] rate is gazetted, they can go to their customers and point to the fact that the government has increased its rate to deal with the price of fuel and  hopefully that means we’ll start to see a fuel levy being paid on more and more jobs.

“Once that starts to happen, we got the power to vote with our wheels and go and take on a job where a levy is being paid.”

McCrone had not discounted further strike action if rates don’t increase, as promised. The current hourly rate been calculated when diesel costs were just $1.40 per litre.

“From where I’m sitting, I think we made the right decision to suspend the action. Let’s just see what the next fortnight brings.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has also since indicated there will be a temporary reduction in the fuel excise tax, expected to be between 10c and 20c for six months, according to one report.

Frydenberg said he will confirm what that means for diesel users in tomorrow’s federal budget announcement.

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