The federal government’s pre-election budget measure to cut fuel tax to benefit mum and dad motorists is creating cashflow headaches for trucking operators while barely helping their fuel bills, the industry has argued.

Trucking industry representatives have called for all fuel users to be able to access the full 22.1 cents per litre saving from the May announcement.

While the fuel tax was temporarily slashed from 44.2c/l, trucking businesses are seeing only a 4.3c/l benefit because their effective fuel tax rate is set at a lower rate.

Trucking companies also face a confusing scenario for the next six months when paying their next Business Activity Statement requirements, as they will receive 4.3c/l instead of 22.1c/l as their rebate.

The Australian Fleet Management Association’s executive director, Mace Hartley, says the government should provide a level playing field for all drivers concerning the fuel tax cut.

“The whole reason they get the original subsidy is because the amount of driving greatly exceeds any normal driver,” he says. “It just makes sense that they would maintain that rebate.”

The AFMA says it supported the Australian Trucking Association’s call for a reduction in the road user charge by 22.1c to provide equal benefit to light vehicle operators.

Hartley says the “rushed” decision was “an administrative bungle” that was impacting fleet managers across industries, with the impact to come when businesses prepare their BAS tax.

“While the larger businesses may have the resources to weather that storm, the smaller one-man-band businesses won’t have that ability. I don’t understand, I think it’s more of an error than a well-thought-out policy position.”

An Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications department spokesperson says the assessment of the road user charge was set to recover the heavy vehicle share of road use, pointing to estimates from the National Transport Commission that it was $847m less than what was spent by governments.

“This 4.3 cents per litre reduction is in the context of charges currently being 24 per cent below the level required to recover the heavy vehicle share of recent government expenditure on roads,” the spokesperson says.

“Caretaker conventions now apply and the department therefore cannot comment on any future government policy, program, regulatory or funding decisions.”

Extracted in full from: ‘Confusing scenario’ ahead with fuel tax credit | The Australian