Lismore truckers to be hit hard by more fuel costs
LISMORE trucking company Wants Transport is fighting pressure from two directions with fuel price increases looming and new competitors on the scene "undercutting" freight rates.
Owner Matthew Want said times were tough and the Federal Government's introduction of a new fuel tariff would not help the situation.
The average family will pay about $20 a year extra for fuel once the tax has been implemented on November 10.
It is expected to raise $2.2 billion for roads and job creation, but only if the Senate overturns its previous refusals to give the tax a green light.
All money raised from the tariff will be returned to fuel companies if it is not approved by the Senate within 12 months.
"It's hard for us to pass on any new costs at the moment because we're already trying to fight off new guys who are cutting the rates," Mr Want said.
"Smaller operators are coming in and undercutting the prices for a period of time so they can get our work.
"We've lost a couple of contracts in recent months."
Mr Want said the bulk agricultural haulage company was also coming to grips with an industry becoming increasingly tangled in red tape.
"I think we're just over-regulated with all the rules we have to adhere to," he said.
"We have more people in our office now than when we were doing the same work five years ago, just doing all the paperwork so we can keep our accreditations.
"The bottom line is getting harder and harder."
NRMA president Kyle Loades questioned the logic behind the scheme.
"It is clear that the government was not going to get fuel indexation passed in the Senate, and we're not surprised - it was a bad policy that would hurt Australian families," he said.
"While the government might argue that indexation will only cost an additional 40c per week, that's an extra $20 a year that many families can't afford and it will continue to increase twice a year indefinitely.
"We also question the logic behind this approach if every driver in the country will then be handing in receipts in 12 months time to claim their money back.
"The government must guarantee that if this measure is defeated in the parliament in 12 months time that all money collected from motorists will be refunded."