Upper North truck driver Bill Dearlove had been expecting the government to change the fuel excise tax for a long time, but was relieved to learn that fuel tax credits for off-road users and heavy vehicle operators would be adjusted in line with the tax rise.

“Thankfully it means it won’t have any impact on our business – the tax will go up, but our credits will match it,” he said.

Bill operates Dearlove Transport at Peterborough, with livestock carting his main focus.

He said fuel costs were not as big an issue as they had been in the past, with bulk diesel sitting at about $1.30 a litre.

Bill said rural roads were an area of concern, with the increased funding for the Roads to Recovery program much needed.

“Any money spent on roads is great,” he said. “SA is way behind the eight-ball on road maintenance, and while there is shoulder sealing and resurfacing happening on some of the highways, there’s also a lot of smaller dirt roads that could use a lot of work.”

RAA senior manager – mobility and automotive policy Mark Borlace joined Bill in welcoming the Roads to Recovery funding, but said a greater proportion of the funds gathered through the fuel excise tax needed to be spend on roads.

“Ideally we’d like to see 100 per cent of the funds raised from the fuel excise tax put back into to roads, but we think 50pc would be a good place to start.”

Mark said regional roads were suffering from a “maintenance backlog”, and praised the move to allocate the extra funding to roads outside capital cities.

He said regional drivers – who usually travel far greater distances each year than their city counterparts – would be most affected by the excise indexation.

“This rise will hit country motorists the hardest because they are locked into the use of their cars,” he said.

“Whether they live on the land or in a regional town, there’s no access to public transport as an alternative.”

He said modelling had indicated that the changes would add $42 a year onto the fuel bills of a motorist driving 15,000 kilometres a year, but added that this figure would keep rising as inflation increased excise levels.

Extracted in full from the Stock Journal