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Transport industry combines for fuel tax letter

Members at the ATA conference last week are now reaching out to the Prime Minister to restore the fuel tax credit

The transport industry is combining in a bid to restore the fuel tax credit for operators, sending a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison over the recent fuel tax issue.

Earlier this week, South Australia Road Transport Association (SARTA) chief executive Steve Shearer told ATN he had conducted a private meeting with senator Simon Birmingham where the senator said he would find a solution to the fuel excise tax problem before the end of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) conference last week.

Shearer didn’t hear from Birmingham despite contacting Birmingham’s office twice last week, prompting the SARTA chief executive to bring transport associations together to escalate tensions with the federal government.

Now, Shearer has brought multiple associations together to send a letter to Morrison, calling for the government to bring back the fuel tax credit before the upcoming federal election.

“We have written a pretty strong letter to the Prime Minister which is from the ATA, all the peak bodies and every single state association plus the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad), the Australian Furniture Removers Association and the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA),” Shearer says.

“We’ve made it clear that this isn’t sustainable and it’s going to cause significant harm to the economy. We’re seeking a clear commitment from the government to restore the fuel tax credit backdated from March 30 if they are re-elected.”

The letter was sent on Monday night, as Shearer says the collective signatories aren’t willing to wait for a response until after the election on May 21.

Instead, they want a response from the government before the election or else they are willing to initiate further public action.

“It’s such an important and serious issue that we won’t be mucking around,” Shearer says.

“It could cause the collapse of quite a few trucking companies, particularly small to medium operators, but potentially even the larger companies too.”

Shearer says the letter is “very reasonable” and “calmly but very strongly explains the realities” of the situation to the Prime Minister, with Shearer certain Morrison won’t misunderstand the severity of the issue.

RELATED ARTICLE: SARTA yet to hear from government on fuel tax change

“If they don’t respond it’s because they’re choosing to try and stare us down,” Shearer says.

“They make think it’s a matter of choice for us, but we’re not bluffing and we won’t survive by the time it’s crystal clear that what we’re saying is true.”

The SARTA chief executive says this opinion was widely held by members at the ATA convention in the Gold Coast last week, where many companies told Shearer that it was the number one issue facing their business.

For those who aren’t aware, Shearer is hopeful this campaign can help enlighten companies before the lack of a fuel tax credit cripples their business.

“There are operators who don’t know this yet and will wake up to the issue at their next business activity statement (BAS) payment,” Shearer says.

“They will go to get their fuel tax credit and will get a shock with no credit, wondering how the hell it got to that stage.”

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