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Fuel surcharge win for NSW freight transport operators

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The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) has successfully filed a claim in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) for an increase to the rates paid under the General Carriers Contract Determination in NSW.

TWU NSW state secretary Richard Olsen said the union had taken this action to protect owner-drivers from the unprecedented diesel price hikes as a result of the war in Ukraine.

“This action contributes to the security and wellbeing of their future,” said Olsen.

“In light of past performance, the TWU is not surprised that the varying levels of government provided inadequate responses to the needs of small business in the transport industry.”

The federal government’s “wholly inadequate plan” to reduce the fuel excise is cold comfort to owner-drivers forced to absorb extortionate diesel prices, he said.

“In an outrageous act that was hidden amongst budget papers, the federal government also removed the fuel tax credit scheme, which resulted in almost a zero benefit to owner-drivers trying to recover their fuel costs.

“Effectively, the Liberal government sat on its hands again and provided no relief to these small business operators.

“This means that the federal government is not committed to the transport industry, they have robbed truck drivers of any benefit the fuel excise cuts brought.”

Olsen said the union had written to the Prime Minister demanding that in the absence of a tribunal to support cost recovery, the government must provide targeted support which puts money directly into the pockets of truck owner drivers on razor-thin margins.

According to a TWU survey conducted in 2021, three in four owner-drivers had worked for no profit and nearly two thirds were constantly worried they would need to sell their truck to get by.

More than half said they had been forced to delay maintenance to their trucks because they could not afford it.

This was before fuel prices spiked.

The orders below made today by the IRC in NSW come into effect on April 18 and will be reviewed on a monthly basis.

For pay periods commencing between April 18 and May 16, the temporary fuel surcharge shall be:

Vehicle Carrying Capacity Surcharge
(per km)
Rigid-carrying capacity over 3 and including 5
tonnes
$0.11
Rigid-carrying capacity over 5 and including 8
tonnes
$0.18
Rigid-carrying capacity over 8 and including 10
tonnes
$0.27
Rigid-carrying capacity over 10 and including 12
tonnes
$0.27
Rigid-carrying capacity over 12 and including 14
tonnes
$0.27
Rigid-carrying capacity over 14 tonnes or more $0.34
Single Axle Prime Mover $0.34
Bogie Axle Prime Mover $0.42

For container carriers servicing the port, the principal contractor may elect to pay the below surcharges in lieu of the above:

  • Rigid-carrying capacity over 8 and including 10
    tonnes – surcharge (per hour) $3.72
  • Rigid-carrying capacity over 10 and including 12
    tonnes – $3.72
  • Rigid-carrying capacity over 12 and including 14
    tonnes – $3.72
  • Rigid-carrying capacity over 14 tonnes or more – $4.77
  • Single Axle Prime Mover  -$4.79
  • Bogie Axle Prime Mover – $5.81
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