Like all Federal Budgets, when it comes to the trucking industry it’s a bit of good news/bad news. Our elected government ‘giveth with one hand and taketh away with another’, usually in equal measures. This year seems to have been a little less painful than most.
The big ticket item is not about trucks at all. The commitment to the Inland Rail between Melbourne and Brisbane is all about putting money into the rail industry’s agenda. However, the step-change in productivity it will provide will feed into economic growth. What does economic growth mean? A lot more truck movements all over the country.
Of course, a lot more truck movements means a lot more infrastructure capable of handling the extra trucking operations will be necessary. There is some good news on this front with money going into Roads to Recovery, Black Spot, Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity and Bridges Renewal. Whether this is enough is debatable, but it is something.
Also on the agenda from Scott Morrison is some good news for small businesses, and we know the trucking industry is composed – to a large degree – by small businesses. The extension of the immediate tax write-down for asset purchases up to $20,000 is good news for small business, but twenty grand doesn’t get you much in the trucking game these days.
Again, Morrison’s forecast for the Australian GDP is good news. Despite an expected dip this year, the runes tell him the economy’s growth will increase next year and the year after that. Unfortunately, private investment in dwellings is expected to taper off considerably over the next three years.
This is not such good news for the trucking operators dealing with the construction industry. Luckily for them they are running flat chat at the moment, trying to keep up with a lot of infrastructure building taking place in places like Sydney and Melbourne. There’s also the Inland Rail coming on stream and a lot of that $8.4 billion will be going on transporting materials into and on sites.
There’s also $300 million to be spent on reducing red tape, something which trucking companies spend a lot of resources dealing with. However, this type of initiative usually sees the resources moving from one department to another to create a different kind of red tape somewhere else.
Can we sleep sounder in our beds tonight? Probably not. There is always a catch and trucking has got used to being at the back of the queue on many types of funding or initiatives. The feds normally just ignore us completely. Apparently, we don’t vote.