SARTA yet to hear from government on fuel tax change

A Liberal senator is yet to act on fuel tax credit discussions

SARTA yet to hear from government on fuel tax change
SARTA executive officer Steve Shearer

With just weeks left until the federal election occurs, the South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) says members of the coalition government are yet to respond to the fuel tax crisis hitting the transport industry.

Since the halving of the fuel excise tax was announced at the federal budget and the fuel tax credit was removed, transport bodies and companies have complained about the crippling impact the move is having on operators across the country.

SARTA executive officer Steve Shearer says he met with Liberal senator Simon Birmingham last month to raise the issue to the federal government.

"I had a really good 15-minute one-on-one discussion with senator Simon Birmingham on April 21 at a Liberal conference in South Australia," Shearer told ATN.

"By the end of our chat he fully understood the situation and the catastrophic impacts the wiping out of the fuel tax credit is having on the industry.

"He went away saying he would have a good look at it and see if he could find a solution."

But Shearer hasn’t heard from Birmingham since, with Shearer saying he reached out to senior members of Birmingham’s office twice last week without receiving a response.

Shearer says he wanted to make an announcement at last week’s Australian Trucking Association conference to relieve fears about the fuel tax credit being cut but didn’t hear back from Birmingham about any updates despite setting the deadline to last Friday.

While at the conference, the SARTA executive officer says the fuel excise tax issue was the most mentioned issue threatening the livelihood of transport operators.

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When he initially brought it up to senator Birmingham, Shearer says he thought the politician left the meeting "fully enlightened".

"There were things he clearly wasn’t aware of and I suspect all ministers aren’t aware of," Shearer says.

"The key factor was that the access to the fuel tax credit forms an integral component of the trucking industry business model and has been for many decades, but it’s our money and it’s been guillotined and cut off.

"It has a fundamental impact on our business model that’s so substantial that people won’t survive without it."

Although he hasn’t heard anything from Birmingham or his office since the chat, Shearer is still hopeful that the politician will work for a solution before the election to help save businesses from closing.

"As each hour and day ticks by, the prospects diminish from that approach," he says.

"That’s where it stands at the moment, I just hope we can find a solution."

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