Mr Simon was launching the ATA’s 2013 election campaign. The campaign focuses on the carbon tax, as well as fixing the road funding system and the way the industry is charged for its use of the roads.
“The Labor Government plans to extend its carbon tax to the fuel used by the trucking industry. Trucking operators would pay almost seven cents per litre in extra fuel tax from 1 July 2014. This would cost the industry more than half a billion dollars in the first year,” Mr Simon said.
“Most trucking businesses do not have the market power to increase their freight rates to cover the cost of the tax and operate on very tight margins as it is.”
The director of Rays Haulage, Roslyn Rahman, said her company would have great difficulty passing the carbon tax on to its customers.
“Customers just don’t want to pay. We have been operating this family based business for over 15 years and transport is just getting harder and harder,” she said.
Rays Haulage is based in Glendenning in Western Sydney and employs 14 people. The company’s distinctive trucks deliver steel and timber for the construction industry.
David Camilleri from Camhaul in Maroota, NSW, said he was concerned about retrieving the carbon tax from customers as well.
“It will be a huge increase on top of other day to day increases. What else can we say? This Labor Government just doesn’t understand small or big business and doesn’t care either,” he said.
David and Michael Camilleri have run Camhaul for the last eight years and cart stockfeed and animal products. They now employ five full time drivers, but still drive themselves.
Mr Simon said Labor’s plan would just make life more difficult for trucking businesses like Rays Haulage and Camhaul.
“Roslyn says that trucking is in her blood. Her business is well known and she’s created jobs for 14 people. David employs another five. The Government should be supporting them, not making it harder for them to do business.”
He said that other firms could go out of business entirely.
“The carbon tax would force even more small trucking businesses to close. This would be a tragedy for the people involved, who in many cases would have invested everything they had in their business. It would reduce the industry’s flexibility and productivity, and ultimately raise costs for everyone, because every item on the shelves of every supermarket is delivered by truck.”
Mr Simon said the Labor Government expected trucking operators to switch to alternative fuels like biodiesel, which are not subject to the carbon tax.
“The problem is that many truck engine manufacturers recommend against using fuel with more than five per cent biodiesel in their engines, and it’s hard to get – biodiesel makes up less than one half of one per cent of the diesel market,” he said.
He said it wasn’t too late for the Labor Government to change its mind.
“I’m calling on the Labor Government to announce that it would, if elected, drop its plan to extend the carbon tax to truck fuel. The Coalition has already announced it would repeal the carbon tax completely,” he said.
Through the ATA’s election website, you can:
- get fact sheets and send them to your social media contacts
- read what other people in the industry have to say about the carbon tax, and road funding and charges, and share your thoughts too
- send letters to the Government and the Opposition urging them to support the policies the industry needs and
- find out more about joining anATA member association to keep up the fight.
During the formal election campaign, which starts on 12 August, the ATA will provide the industry with a report card on how the parties compare.