Claims TWU fuel proposal is 'double dipping'


Industry groups claim the TWU's fuel compensation proposal will force prime contractors and customers to pay two levies

By Brad Gardner

The Transport Workers Union’s (TWU) fuel reimbursement proposal is failing to gain support from industry groups amid claims it will force prime contractors to pay two levies.

The Transport Industry—Fuel Levy Contract Determination will be heard again today in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) following last week’s failure for all parties to reach an agreement on whether to implement it.

The Master Builders Association (MBA), which is arguing against the proposal, has raised concerns of "double dipping".

The MBA’s Peter Glover says the State’s current contract determination already requires operators and clients to pay sub-contractors a rate set by the IRC which includes compensation for fuel.

Despite denials by the TWU, Glover claims the fuel levy proposal is not intended to supersede the current pay method, meaning operators will be forced to pay two sets of fuel levies.

"We do have concerns over the union’s proposal in its current form," Glover says

"We are not content with the way it is currently structured."

The Australian Industry Group is also opposing the Transport Industry—Fuel Levy Contract Determination, with Director Tony Melville saying it will adversely affect prime contractors and clients.

"If accepted in their current form, the applications may result in a situation of over recovery where the contract carrier is over-compensated for increased fuel costs," Melville says.

A spokesman for TWU Federal Secretary Tony Sheldon says operators and clients will not be double-billed.

"We won’t be chucking it [the Transport Industry—Fuel Levy Contract Determination] on top of the Determination that already exists," the spokesman says.

Rather, the TWU intends enforcing a fixed one-month period for levies to be reviewed rather than the current method which may vary from six to 12 months.

It will also reduce the need for companies and owner-drivers to appear before the IRC, according to the spokesman. He says current provisions mean any proposed changes to fuel levies must go to the commission

"It is a fairer system for everyone and a simpler one," the spokesman says.

However, the Australian Industry Group is against the application extending to sectors currently exempt from paying levies, such as the quarried, excavated and concrete industries.

If passed, the TWU’s proposal will force prime contractors and clients to pay owner-drivers a fuel levy as a percentage of their freight rate.

The percentage will be altered on a regular basis depending on the price of fuel.The union wants the levy to apply to intrastate and local owner-drivers.







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