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Win for truckies with freeze on 2.5 per cent diesel tax hike

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TAX BREAK: The industry made sure that Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Scott Buchholz listened to their challenges.

EVERY trucking business will benefit from the Australian Government's decision to cancel a proposed increase in the tax on truck fuel, Australian Trucking Association Chair Geoff Crouch said today.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz announced the decision early this morning.

The Government was looking at increasing the tax on truck fuel, known as the road user charge, by 2.5 per cent from July 1, and another 2.5 per cent from July 1 next year.

Mr Crouch said the decision recognised that 2020 is not the time to increase taxes on the businesses delivering Australia's essential food, medicine and other goods.

"As a result of the pandemic, Australia is likely to experience the biggest contraction in national output and income since the Great Depression," Mr Crouch said.

"Australia's 50,000 trucking businesses simply could not afford to pay more in taxes and charges.

"The Australian Government has listened to what our members are saying and have acted. We applaud the Deputy Prime Minister's leadership on this issue."

Mr Crouch said the ATA and its network of member associations had taken a united and effective approach to lobbying on the issue.

"In November 2019, ministers rejected officials' advice that truck taxes and charges should increase 11.4 per cent, after the ATA and member association representatives briefed them on the cost and demand pressures faced by trucking businesses.

"Ministers then identified a preference for two increases of 2.5 per cent, but this was before the double hit of the bushfires and the epidemic.

"As a result of today's decision, the road user charge will remain at its current level, 25.8 cents per litre.

"I want to thank our member associations for their effective advocacy on behalf of their members."

Queensland Trucking Association CEO Gary Mahon said that the Federal Government should be congratulated for arriving at this decision along with all the State Government's and Territory's who agreed that deferring the increase to the RUC will make an important difference to the bottom line of fleet operators, and help keep people employed in the industry during this difficult time.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Federal Government would continue to help industry through the pandemic challenges.

"Our response today demonstrates our commitment to supporting the heavy vehicle industry as we put Australia in the best position possible to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak," he said.

"Australia's heavy vehicle industry is crucial to sustaining our economy and distributing critical goods during the COVID-19 pandemic. This freeze will ease some of the current pressures on the industry.

"It is so important we help maintain the supply and flow of medicines and medical equipment and food and essential items to our supermarket shelves at this time. Road freight is absolutely critical to this."

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said all levels of Government recognise the pressure on the transport industry at this time.

"The Government has the back of these hard-working Australian men and women of the transport industry who continue to work so hard to ensure critical supplies reach Australians when and where they need them."

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