February 6, 2023


The TWU has warned the Grattan Institute’s short-sighted and dangerous calls to halve the fuel tax credit lifeline for truckies would send transport operators and owner drivers to the wall and cause more truck crash deaths on our roads. 

Transport is Australia’s deadliest industry and has one of the highest rates of insolvency. In the last two weeks alone, 11 people were killed in eight truck crashes, including two truck drivers. 

The fuel tax credit scheme provides relief to operators and drivers on razor-thin margins, while wealthy retailers, manufacturers and oil companies at the top of supply chains squeeze transport contracts to bolster their bottom line.

The TWU says a sustainable transition to clean energy in transport must first address the Amazon Effect of untrammeled commercial clout at the top of the supply chain and the gig tsunami wiping out safe, fair and sustainable standards.

“The prospect of tampering with – let alone halving – a fuel cost lifeline for our essential trucking industry in the current climate is as dangerous as it is ludicrous. This move would unfairly target operators and drivers battling razor-thin margins, under pressure to cut corners in safety to stay afloat. It would decimate operators and supply lines with deadly consequences in what is already Australia’s most lethal industry.

“It’s the powerful users of transport we have to watch here. Major retailers like Aldi and super-rich commodity companies reaping not only the practical benefit of transport services but also the yield of untrammeled commercial clout which enables them to pocket every last cent of transport operator margins. 

“These users have already factored credits into the pricing they impose on transport companies. Last year proved that the removal of such credits under the Morrison Government did not see increased costs absorbed at the top of the supply chain but inflicted upon those struggling at the bottom. 

“We need long-term, practical and sustainable reform which recognises commercial reality, not the blinkered theoretical economic view which frankly is a fantasy. 

“Addressing unchecked supply chain power must be step one to reduce trucking deaths and insolvencies, tackle the Amazon Effect smashing operators, and find a sustainable move to clean energy funded by the owners of freight who hold the wealth and power.

“The solution to this is already in the works, with the Federal Government committing to set fair, safe and sustainable standards in transport, which will be introduced to parliament later this year. The Grattan Institute would find it is better placed to join the conversation here, after first listening to and understanding the industry,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.

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