As the South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) continues to voice the dire ramifications of the Fuel Tax Credit (FTC) debacle, it reveals it has had productive talks with the new federal government this week.
SARTA says it has been effective in lobbying the new federal government and in particular the new Minister for Infrastructure Transport Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King MP, plus the four new SA members of the federal Labor Cabinet, Senators Penny Wong and Don Farrell and MPs Mark Butler and Amanda Rishworth.
This week, SARTA executive officer Steve Shearer was able to sit down with the new transport minister’s chief of staff, Joseph Solomon, alongside several chats with other senior departmental staff.
“We also gained the support of SA’s Tom Koutsantonis, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport who backed up the SARTA letter to Minister King and wrote on our behalf to Minister King immediately after her appointment as the new federal Minister,” SARTA explained.
“In addition we secured the support of Senator Glenn Sterle from WA who undertook to raise the issue personally with Minister King and also the new federal Treasurer, Jim Chalmers.”
SARTA says the aim was to bring the FTC issue to the table and make it top of mind.
“The first step was to overcome the new government’s priorities barrier and get the issue on the federal minister’s desk as an issue that requires urgent and immediate resolution, which we have achieved,” said Shearer.
“The second step is then to convince the government to restore the FTC. As a result of lengthy discussions we have achieved the second step, as the new federal minister have a full and detailed understanding of the issue and appreciate the risk posed if the FTC isn’t restored from July 1 at the latest.”
SARTA has worked to highlight the “extremely serious risk of collapse of the trucking industry and hence the supply chain” if the FTC is not restored from July 1, 2022 – at the latest.
After working over the recent long weekend to call with King’s chief of staff on Monday, a lengthy note was then emailed about the current FTC problem.
A series of telephone discussions followed with senior staff from the minister’s department, which have similarly corrected their fundamental misunderstandings about how the FTC operates, how fuel levies and freight rates operate, cash flow impacts, the refusal of customers to except anything less than a 22 cents per litre cut in price due to the excise halving, and why it is unreasonable to expect truck operators to accept longer payment terms from the ATO to cover a BAS debt that they should never have.
“SARTA has ensured that the new Government understand the consequences of not restoring the FTC from 1 July at the latest, namely the collapse of some 57 per cent of operators and hence the supply chain,” Shearer said.
SARTA is now awaiting further discussions and remains hopeful of a positive outcome.