Western Roads Federation bushfire business assistance call


East-west trucking firms facing huge costs due to highway closures

Western Roads Federation bushfire business assistance call
Craig Smith-Gander

 

With bushfires undercutting the finances of trucking and other businesses, the Western Roads Federation (WRF) has welcomed indications that the federal government intends to announce a business assistance package for those impacted.

WRF calls on the federal emergency management minister David Littleproud to keep in mind that transport companies are also businesses that have been impacted by the devastating bushfires.

It points out that bushfires that have forced an unprecedented ongoing two-week closure of the Eyre Highway, connecting Perth and Adelaide, have imposed crippling costs on many east-west transport operators stuck at the roadblocks.


Read how WA has been cut off by road from the rest of the country, here


"Some transport operators are losing millions as they pay wages and run expensive transport refrigeration equipment in order to protect customer’s produce – costs that are not recoverable from clients," it says.

For many smaller operators, this road closure "could mean crippling financial losses".

"Our transport companies are businesses too and must be included in any business assistance package" WRF chairman Craig Smith-Gander says.

"Specifically, we call on the minister to ensure Western Australian transport companies and their interstate counterparts who provide Australia’s vital east-west road transport connection are included in any federal government business assistance package.

"I wish to take this opportunity to pay tribute to our state’s and our nation’s truck drivers and transport companies who have continued to support their communities and their customers throughout the crisis.

"In the meantime, we remind all Australian transport companies and their customers that WA remains closed at the border to all traffic."

(News that the Great Central Road had reopened in both directions between Laverton and the Northern Territory border came after the statement.)

The Queensland Trucking Association supports the sentiment and notes a specific Australian Taxation Office (ATO) helpline – 1800 806 218 – has been established that can be used by those impacted to seek assistance, such as to:

  • obtain extra time to pay tax debt or lodge tax forms
  • obtain assistance in finding lost tax file numbers (TFNs)
  • obtain re-issued tax returns, activity statements and notices of assessment
  • obtain assistance in re-constructing tax records that are lost or damaged
  • have any refunds fast tracked
  • negotiate payment plans tailored to individual circumstances (including interest free periods)
  • negotiate the remission of penalties or interest charged during the time a taxpayer has been affected.

     

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