Opinion

Why the roast may be off the menu for a while

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Copy the cutey in the Kenworth… I’m just doing the groceries, have you delivered here yet as the shelves are nearly empty?

Sorry BNH [Bored Neurotic Housewife], tried to deliver but the DC wouldn’t let me in because I didn’t have a personal email. Guess the shoppers will have to go short again today… ova

What cutie? Don’t worry about that so much, I’m needing to negotiate a rate rise – about 18 cents on every dollar I spend… ova.

Yeah, that’s not gonna happen my BNH, I can’t even negotiate a small rate rise per trip… ova.

That’s about the reality of it. Come the 21st of the month when the diesel bill is due how the hell are operators going to sustain that much loss? Simply they can’t.

What it breaks down to is allegedly saving a bout 4.3 cents per litre at the bowser today, according to some industry calculations, but actually costing more at tax time due to the loss of the Fuel Tax Credits (FTCs).

Without a reduction to the Road User Charges (RUC) as well, the FTCs will no longer apply for at least the next 6 months, costing businesses about $17,500 per truck extra, or approximately an extra $1500 per month.

Add this to the extra amount that diesel actually remains at, the increase in AdBlue, maintenance, tolls (including mandatory use of certain toll roads), safety tools (like telematics), accounting and auditing systems, etc.

Just about everything we need now has gone up, except for our rates.

Having just read the Australian government’s response to the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee report, you’d think it would be easy to “just” renegotiate unfair contracts (nice if you even have a contract) or pop over to the Small Business Ombudsman’s Office or FWO to resolve disputes on payments.

Would be lovely if the author(s) of that document lived in the real world and not the fanciful land of academia where it all looks good on paper, but the application and reality is vastly different and very convoluted! Something any small trucking business would be able to navigate with ease and confidence – NOT!

Getting back to the money side of things, we have increased expenses in the business, now an extra $1500 a month we have to do without, thanks to the diesel bowser price “reduction”, and massively increased living costs at home in groceries, electricity, everyday needs like clothes, excursions for the kids, etc.

So, what are the options? Feed the family? Run insolvent? Close the business? Pass the increased transport costs on to customers which will see the cost of living increase even more?

As wives and partners, we will continue to reassure our drivers that ‘we’ve been here before and we’ll make it through’.

We’ll push through the tough times, reduce spending – somehow – and continue smiling despite our driver being away from home most of the time, to earn a living that doesn’t cut the mustard anymore.

Speaking of which, better go put on the roast! Oops, I mean the pasta now I’ve got to maximise every 4.3 cents we’ve saved on the diesel.

The roast may be off the menu for a little while.

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