Industry must increase rates from January: ATA

Trucking companies must increase rates or adjust surcharge to compensate for a cut in the fuel tax credit, ATA says

Trucking companies must increase their freight rates or adjust their fuel surcharge to compensate for a cut in the fuel tax credit, the peak industry body says.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) says the credit will fall from 18.51 cents per litre to 17.14 from January 2009 following the passage of legislation increasing the road user charge to 21 cents a litre.

As such, the ATA is warning of an increase in consumer goods as companies look to offset the impact a drop in the credit will have on their business operations.

"It’s vitally important that trucking companies increase their freight rates or adjust their fuel surcharge on 1 January, because every day you wait will cost you 1.367 cents for every litre of fuel you use," ATA Chairman Trevor Martyn says.

"The industry’s customers cannot expect us to absorb this extra cost. We need to tell our customers that our costs have changed and they need to pay more."

Martyn says large companies must adjust their charges to ensure sub-contractors are compensated, whether they are owner-drivers or small fleet operators.

While saying sub-contracting arrangements vary, Martyn says sub-contractors must receive adequate compensation.

"One way or the other, the extra payment should be equivalent to 1.367 cents for each litre of fuel they use," he says.

The Rudd Government this month passed legislation to increase the road user charge from 19.63 cents to 21 cents per litre to bring it in line with infrastructure expenditure.

Following a protracted debate over the charge, the Government agreed to dump its proposal to index it, in turn gaining the ATA’s support as well as the necessary votes in the Senate.

Any future charges will be open to scrutiny, with the industry gaining access to all the figures, methods and formulas the Government uses in determining whether to increase the charge.

Due to the increase, the Government will invest its $70 million Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Package over four years in rest areas, tachograph trials and road infrastructure.

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