Release date: 13/08/2009

The Transport Workers Union has warned proposals contained in the Henry Tax Review and related to transportation regulation will lead to small businesses in the industry being weighed down with red tape, while major clients will escape the costs.

TWU national secretary, Tony Sheldon, said that while the industry was waiting for the Federal Government to implement a system of safe rates, it was premature to be talking about any reform to transport charges across the country.

“The Federal Government is currently working within the industry to put in place a system of payments where drivers can receive full cost recovery, including waiting times and fluctuating fuel prices,” Mr Sheldon said.

“This plan we have seen reported today will only look after the big end of town. The hypercompetitive nature of the industry, which is driven by client pressure, will still see drivers end up carrying the bill.

“This proposal is not a user-pays system. The fact that we pay excise on every litre of fuel we buy at the moment means the user is paying for their road use. It is short-sighted to think another tax on drivers will see anything change.

“We must also remember the blockades of the 1970s and 1980s, and our more recent go-slow actions have been about the conditions of drivers. Another road tax will surely lead to a crippling blockade across the country.

“The whole country is looking at emissions trading schemes today, and this proposal will do nothing to facilitate an industry response to the urgent challenge of climate change.

“We are looking at an industry where over 280 people are killed on our roads every year with report after report saying the economics of the industry leads to this carnage. Another system which punishes small business and takes advantage of families is not what our industry needs and will lead to more carnage on our roads,” Mr Sheldon said.

Media Contact: Seth Tenkate 0408 463 199.

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