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VTU dismisses Andersons fuel strike comments

VTU spokesman Luke McCrone says the VTA CEO’s comments are “very inappropriate”

Victorian Tippers’ United (VTU) has rebutted Victorian Transport Association (VTA) CEO Peter Anderson’s comments yesterday on the VTU’s planned strike over rising fuel prices and vowed to continue with its strike action.  

Anderson described the VTU’s plans to leave over 200 tip trucks out the front of Victorian Parliament House as “disgraceful” and “not representative of the entire industry’s views” when speaking with ATN.  

But the VTU has hit back, saying its action has received widespread support amongst the transport industry.

“His [Anderson’s] comments are very inappropriate. As far as I know, he has never owned a tipper and never worked in our industry. He has no members that are tipper owner drivers,” VTU spokesman Luke McCrone told ATN.

“Some of the agencies that are members of his agree with us that the government needs to take urgent action and introduce a fuel levy as a price signal for the rest of the market.

“His actions aren’t widely supported in the industry; we don’t know an owner driver or person in the industry who doesn’t support the VTU’s actions.”

The VTU has initiated discussions with the Victorian government to introduce a price levy to cover soaring diesel prices.

Currently, the VTU says the government, through the Transport Industry Council, has developed a cost model for diesel levies to mandate on their projects.

This cost model is adjusted periodically – according to the VTU it was last adjusted over a year ago when the benchmark for diesel costs sat at around $1.40 per litre.

Now that diesel prices are sitting at over $2 per litre, McCrone says owner drivers are stuck with that $1.40 amount, leading to the VTU calling on the state government to introduce a fuel levy that floats up and down to compensate for costs above $1.40 a litre.

“The diesel prices have gone so high so quickly that it’s been impossible for us to pass those costs onto our clients,” McCrone says.

“The process by which they determine the rates for diesel is done by the Transport Industry Council, of which Peter Anderson is a member – no actual owner drivers sit on it, which we believe is a weakness in its set up.”

RELATED ARTICLE: Anderson slams VTU planned fuel strike

According to the VTU, it has had some “very productive discussions with the state government” to try and work out a fuel levy before its planned strike on Monday.

It says the government has some work to do on determining what a fuel levy would mean for major projects if it was introduced, but that it hopes it can work out something quickly ahead of a VTU members meeting tomorrow night to plan for next week’s proposed action.

“What we are doing is hoping for the best and planning for the worst. If we don’t have something concrete by the end of the week, we’ll proceed with our plans to protest in the city, where members will gather after to decide whether they return to work on Tuesday,” McCrone says.

“People like Peter Anderson have been very critical of the VTU’s approach, but I know there are owner drivers all over Victoria that are hurting due to the price of diesel and not many are getting meetings with the government, while we are.

“Our strategy is paying dividends, so we’ll take Peter Anderson’s advice and compare it with what happens.”

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