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Survey says transport industry could collapse under FTC problem

The transport industry warns if the FTC isn’t reinstated then around 3,500 transport companies may close by July 1.

A South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) survey says a large portion of the transport industry won’t survive past the end of the year unless the fuel tax credit (FTC) is reinstated.

The industry’s concerns were included in a letter from SARTA CEO Steve Shearer to former Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The survey was initiated this week as the industry pleads with the new government to help transport operators before it’s too late.

Shearer has been the industry spokesperson on the fuel excise crisis, having been appointed by the Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA) national council to coordinate a political approach to fix the issue.

This included issuing a survey to Australian transport businesses to observe the impact the removal of the FTC has had on operators across the country.

In what Shearer says is a “slight-of-hand move” by the former coalition government, the federal government funded only 4.3 cents per litre of the 22.1 cents per litre cut of the fuel excise earlier this year, instead removing the FTC for transport operators to force them to fund the other 17.8 cents per litre to ease the cost of fuel.

In the survey. which Shearer says has produced consistent results since the first day, 80 per cent of operators said they claim the FTC quarterly.

Since the FTC was removed, 76 per cent of responders said they haven’t been able to offset the financial loss of not being able to claim the FTC.

In a worrying trend, 57 per cent of businesses said they won’t survive if the FTC isn’t reinstated before a business activity statement (BAS) deadline of September 30, while eight per cent of operators said they wouldn’t survive if the FTC isn’t restored until the next BAS payment date of July 1.

“We had over 200 companies respond to the survey and the results showed a consistent pattern,” Shearer told ATN.

“Our survey showed over 90 per cent of trucking companies will collapse if this current system continues.”

In the long-run, 78 per cent of businesses said they won’t survive if the FTC is abolished permanently, supporting Shearer’s call for the new government to take action.

“We saw the size of businesses responding and this issue largely affects small to medium sized operators,” Shearer says.

“If eight per cent of small to medium operators won’t survive past July 1 without the FTC, that means around 3,500 truck companies disappear.

“We can’t afford to lose these businesses.”

Currently, Shearer says the Labor government has adopted an approach that it was the coalition government’s problem and they won’t do anything to fix the issue.

If the government is unwilling to change the system and reinstate the FTC, Shearer warns all Australians that the cost of living will increase dramatically.

“In the long run market forces would kick in and freight costs would skyrocket, so the cost of everything would go through the roof as people move freight and pay desperately just to do so,” Shearer says.

“That means a massive hit on the economy. The calamity of it means the supply chain, from toilet paper to housing materials, will destroy the country and our economy.”

The survey is still available for fleet operators to complete on this link.

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