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SARTA calls for petrol gouging crackdown

CEO Steve Shearer says it’s “un-Australian” for those profiteering on the petrol price increase

The South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) is threatening to refer companies to the ACCC if they aren’t willing to pay the same in fuel levies to subcontractors as they get from their customers. 

The calls come after petrol and diesel price increases following the current conflict in eastern Europe.

Admitting they don’t have control over petrol prices, SARTA CEO Steve Shearer says their main priority is ensuring truck operators are treated fairly and not extorted for money.

“Sometimes large operators charge clients a very significant fuel charge, when the subcontractor is actually doing the work and buying the fuel,” Shearer says.

“When they contact the prime contractor and asks for more of a fuel levy to cover the increased prices, too often we find the prime contractor doesn’t agree to pay the subcontractor, which means they are profiting.”

“If we get clear evidence of that, we’ll go to the ACCC, we’ve seen it happen too often in the past – it’s un-Australian and wrong conduct.”

More than 70 per cent of the transport industry are small operators, including many sub-contractors who work for larger businesses such as Coles and Linfox.

If any large contractors don’t pay the increased levy required due to the soaring petrol prices currently seen globally, many subcontractors may struggle to remain economically viable.


RELATED ARTICLE: SARTA takes massive swipe at ‘absurd’ client COR demands


Another issue arises with payment terms, where many subcontractors are given seven days to pay fuel companies but may not receive the money from their clients for up to 120 days.

“It’s straight-out skulduggery in our view, it’s not fair nor reasonable,” Shearer says,

“We’ll get through this as a country providing everyone is fair and no one tries to profit.”

“If not, we could see a number of smaller truck driving companies hitting the wall and we will then see deserted supermarket shelves like we saw last year.”

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