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Shearer says government is rolling the dice on the FTC

In a FTC update, Steve Shearer says the federal government is choosing to ignore the industry’s FTC problems

South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) executive officer Steve Shearer says the current federal government is risking supply chain damage by refusing to reinstall the fuel tax credit (FTC).

With the ongoing refusal of the federal government to acknowledge the reality of the huge financial harm being caused to the heavy vehicle industry due to the previous federal government’s abolition of the FTC, Shearer says the industry is entering a very dangerous phase. 

“There is little doubt that the federal government has decided to roll the dice by ignoring the industry’s clear and sound advice that the FTC should be restored, at least from July 1,” Shearer told ATN.

“Instead they have decided, as is obvious from their stone-walling silence, to see what happens with the July BAS returns. Senior officials and ministers have their fingers crossed hoping that only a small minority of operators will fail to be able to pay their BAS. 

“Then, if they get their wish, they will leap upon that as ‘proof’ that there is no problem because everyone, or almost everyone, has paid the BAS in full despite the lack of a FTC.”

Shearer says this would be a sign of confirmation bias from the federal government. 

He says the senior treasury and other federal officials will argue to their ministers that strong payment of BAS liabilities in the July returns proves that the loss of the FTC has not been a problem for the industry. 

“The false assumption they would be making in that flawed logic, is that if the industry has largely survived the March to June quarter with zero FTC, it can do it again from July to September,” Shearer says.

“They won’t even consider that for the July BAS most of the operators have robbed Peter to pay Paul in a desperate effort to survive and avoid closing the business that they have fought so long to build up. Such is the widespread level of ignorance within the federal government and bureaucracy about the realities of the heavy vehicle freight industry.”

Shearer warns it won’t stop there either, as Shearer says he’s concerned that the government will withdraw the FTC permanently.

RELATED ARTICLE: SARTA makes FTC breakthrough

If this happens, Shearer says the government could use the $1.4 billion fund to splurge in other areas, while the permanent removal of the FTC would mean the cost of the road user charge would increase from 26.4 cents per litre to 44.2 cents per litre.

SARTA is liaising with its colleague associations around the country in an effort to counteract the above likely false logic evidently being adopted by officials and ministers.

Shearer says they are planning a targeted industry survey to demonstrate the facts about the July BAS payments and the ongoing financial harm to the supply chain due to the FTC as yet not having been restored.

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