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Transport Workers Union in fuel fight

The NSW TWU has headed to court to seek relief for owner drivers in transport

The New South Wales Transport Workers’ Union has filed a claim in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission for an increase in rates paid to essential owner-drivers carrying freight under the General Carriers Contract Determination.

The court action comes after fuel prices have increased to over $2 a litre throughout Australia in the past month.

The NSW TWU argues the ever-increasing cost of diesel is causing a financial crisis for contract carriers in the road transport industry.

The rates that contract carriers are being paid currently were set when diesel costs were around $1.23 a litre, compared to now where they are averaging $2.18 a litre at the pump.

According to the NSW TWU, every litre of fuel that goes into a truck attracts a 44.2 cents per litre fuel excise, as they believe removing this could be the first step in helping transport operators stay on track financially.

“We are going to the courts to seek relief for owner-drivers under extraordinary circumstances,” NSW TWU state secretary Richard Olsen says.

“The inaction from the Federal Government, who should be finding a way to relieve transport operators, has forced our hand.

“As an industry representative we are hearing first-hand the financial burden owner drivers are under – this is why the TWU is in the courts seeking relief.”

Having cited that they “do not trust that the varying levels of Government will adequately respond to the needs of the transport industry”, the NSW TWU is adamant they’ll represent owner-drivers in court and fight for an increase in rates paid to drivers.

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“The transport industry needs direct, targeted support for those who need it most in truck drivers and transport operators who are trying to keep alive, safe and viable small businesses whilst continuing to carry the goods,” Olsen says.

“Everything is moved by a truck – owner-drivers are no longer working to support their households; they are simply working to pay the costs of getting the job done.”

The NSW TWU is seeking a practical response from the Federal and State Governments, believing it is unacceptable that the Federal Government is absent in offering relief to small business operators driving Australia’s economy forward.

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