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Melbourne tip truck drivers act on fuel prices

Victorian Tippers United is once again acting on fuel levy prices for tip truck drivers

Tip-truck owner drivers across Victoria have stopped work and held a meeting regarding the soaring price of diesel and fuel.

On Monday around 1,000 tipper owner drivers stopped work in Melbourne, with 320 people attending a meeting to discuss the next actions on the current fuel prices.

After previously campaigning to raise fuel levies for government-funded tip truck jobs earlier this year, Victorian Tippers United (VTU) spokesman Luke McCrone says drivers working on non-government jobs now need their fuel rates increased.

“We’ve been campaigning for some relief from fuel prices for a while after we got the state government to improve the rates on their jobs,” McCrone told ATN.

“We were hopeful then that the non-government work would also increase, but unfortunately, we haven’t made much progress on this.

McCrone says VTU members and other tip-truck drivers congregated in Melbourne yesterday to talk through what needed to happen for the industry.

The stop work meeting allowed the drivers to decide what they needed to see from the industry, as McCrone says the VTU will now go back to construction companies and present options for an increased fuel levy.

While tipper drivers push for higher fuel levies from contractors, McCrone says the group also wants to campaign for the government’s diesel levy rates to become variable so it can adjust quicker to rising prices of diesel.

“Because the government rate is under review, it’s not very reactive to the price of diesel,” McCrone says.

“It’s difficult to review, so we need a fuel levy that varies monthly and adjusts to the prices of diesel.”

RELATED ARTICLE: VTU delays strike over impending fuel rate change

On a non-government job, McCrone says he currently receives a rate of around $85 an hour, with almost $300 a day going towards paying for diesel and minimum wage increases equalling more than $300.

McCrone says this leaves him with around $60 per day to buy, service, maintain and insure a truck – something he says isn’t possible.

When he tries to find more funds to maintain his trucks, he has to dip into the wage component of the money he receives, meaning he ends up working for below the minimum wage rate.

For a solution, McCrone wants to see the non-government job rate follow the current rates established by the Transport Industry Council (TIC), which recommends a rate of around $96 an hour for tandem works.

“We also want a floating fuel levy when the price rises above it, as currently TIC has diesel going at $1.85 in their cost model,” McCrone says.

“Yesterday was an opportunity to decide what happens next. Now we’ll give agencies two weeks to work with us and implement an improvement so businesses can return to profitability.

“If this doesn’t happen we’ll get back together again and there’s a possibility of it all ramping up.”

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