The trucking industry is slamming the federal government for introducing fuel excise cuts that it says are almost pointless.
- Heavy vehicle drivers are normally reimbursed for part of the fuel excise
- The federal government has halved the excise but also cut the rebate to zero
- Truck drivers say it doesn’t leave them much better off and could lead to price increases along the supply chain
Last month, the Coalition halved the fuel excise from 44.2 cents to 22.1c per litre in response to soaring prices.
That means car drivers are expected to see savings of about 22c per litre at the bowser.
But the transport industry said changes to tax credits and charges for heavy vehicles mean trucks will only see a “minute” saving of 4.3c per litre by comparison.
Australian Trucking Association chair David Smith said the government failed to consult with operators before bringing in the changes.
“Ultimately it was something they could do for the voting public,” he said.
Mr Smith said difficult conversations with customers would have to be had as to why freight rates would not drop.
Previously, out of the 44.2c fuel excise, trucks would receive 17.8c back as a tax credit.
The gap of 26.4c is called the Road User Charge (RUC).
But now the federal government has slashed the excise to 22.1c and the tax credit to zero, meaning the gap truck drivers will pay on the RUC is 4.3c per litre less than before the budget changes.
‘Talk to your accountant’
Road Freight New South Wales said the industry was “under the pump” and that the Commonwealth had failed to throw it a lifeline.
Chief executive Simon O’Hara said it was not yet clear how much of an impact the removal of the tax credits would have, but had some advice for truckies.
“Go and talk to your accountant quick smart,” he said.
Mr O’Hara said bowser prices were still high despite the cut to the excise and those costs would continue to be passed on to customers.
“There’s a flow-on effect through the supply chain which sees inflationary pressures come into play,” he said.
“If you’re seeing high transportation costs then you’re going to see a higher cost for the products that you purchase off the shelves.”
Hard road for industry
Dubbo-based truck driver Rod Hannifey said the government failed to mention the cuts would barely amount to a drop in the ocean for road transport.
“They didn’t tell the whole truth,” he said.
Mr Hannifey paid $2.20 a litre for diesel on a recent trip from Perth.
“We’re only saving a few cents when it’s gone up like 50 to 70 cents over the last 18 months,” he said.