Australia, Transport News

NatRoad calls the budget a mixed bag for the transport industry

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says economic relief isn’t to be seen in this year’s federal budget for trucking operators around the country

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) says the heavy vehicle sector has missed out on meaningful economic relief in the federal budget.

“The rise in the Road User Charge and a tightening of the instant asset write-off scheme were in line with expectations,” NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says.

“The government has applied the brakes to the amount small businesses can claim on their tax for a piece of new equipment, cutting it from a COVID level of $150,000 to $20,000.

“Operators who turnover up to $10 million a year can write off the full cost of assets worth up to $20,000 but we asked for that to be extended over a period of years to give businesses certainty.

“Equipment costing more than $20,000 can be placed into a depreciation pool, which allows businesses to immediately write off 15 per cent and a further 30 per cent each year after.”

Clark says the Budget papers showed the federal government would book $101.8 million from the Road User Charge in 2023-24, $369 million in ‘25-26 and $391.5 million in ‘26-27.

“That’s more than a billion dollars that trucking businesses will have to find somewhere and if they can’t pass it on to customers and ultimately consumers, they will go under,” Clark says.

RELATED ARTICLE: NatRoad slams RUC increase decision

NatRoad says there will be some relief for operators with aggregated annual turnover of less than $50 million being able to deduct an additional 20 per cent of the cost of eligible depreciating assets that support electrification and more efficient use of energy.

Up to $100,000 of total expenditure will be eligible for the Small Business Energy Incentive, with the maximum bonus deduction being $20,000.   

“We also note there’s $1.1 billion in road funding for existing repair and improvement programs but it’s strung out over 10 years and much of it is for projects already in the pipeline,” Clark says.

“That’s a drop in the ocean when you look at the state of our freight roads right around the country and much more needs to be done.

“There’s $22.3 million from 2023–24 for assessments of local government roads to support a national automated road access system for trucks, but its implementation is six years or more away.”

Other positives are:

• $64.2 million over six years for the delivery of transport and infrastructure priorities, including $35.6 million for IT systems to support infrastructure investment and road vehicle safety regulation

• $43.6 million over four years for a new National Road Safety Action Grants Program to support community education and awareness, vulnerable road users, First Nations road safety, technology, innovation and research.

Clark says significant incentives or assistance for the heavy vehicle industry to move towards zero emissions were noticeably absent.

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