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Truckies uneasy about carbon tax

This Sunday's announcement of carbon tax has already got the transport operators spooked, VTA says

By Ruza Zivkusic | July 6, 2011

Only days before the trucking industry learns the fate of the carbon tax, Victorian Transport Association CEO Phil Lovel is raising fears, saying the industry is already “suffering”.

The carbon package will be unveiled this Sunday and Lovel says the industry has been doing it tough for a long time.

“We’re being attacked from all sides and the economy is down; various sectors of the industry are suffering and the costs are going up and this is the last thing we need because all of our customers are affected and it might sound easy and get the rate increased but if the customer can’t pay it where does it leave you?” Lovel says.

“Most operators are feeling very apprehensive about their futures, they are worried about where they will get their growth from; everything is going up – the registrations are going up and our fuel charges have gone up so it’s really a difficult scene at the moment.”

RACV public policy general manager Brian Negus has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement that it will exclude petrol from a carbon tax but is calling for clarity on a number of issues.

“We want to know whether it is applied more broadly across the community, including business and freight,” Negus says.

“Our proposal is that any carbon price should be offset as a cent-for-cent reduction in fuel excise.

“A carbon price on fuel, as an additional impost, has the potential to increase inequities within our society and burden low income households, many of them living in outer urban or regional centres with limited public transport and therefore, more reliance on their vehicles.”

He is calling on more detail on whether the benefits will apply to commerce, industry and the broader community.

“Our stance was that any carbon tax should be treated as reduction in fuel exercise for petrol.”

Meanwhile, South Australia Senator Alex Gallacher has told The Advertiser carbon tax could hit self-employed drivers because they could not pass on increased operating costs.

He believes the carbon tax exemption to be provided to private motorists and trading operating light commercial vehicles should be extended to truck owner-drivers.

He wants truck drivers to be compensated if their costs increase as a result of the tax, he adds.

Small businesses with large trucks will also be vulnerable to any price rise in diesel, which could force them to go broke, Gallacher adds.

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