Stimulus package could cost truck sale jobs

THE loss of local jobs could be a serious unforeseen cost of the Federal Government's $42 billion stimulus package according to Mid Coast Trucks CEO Tony Smith.

Mr Smith said the 30 per cent rebate only applied to the purchase of new vehicles and would seriously affect sales of second-hand trucks, which made up 65 per cent of his business.

“As a dealer we are only able to sell new vehicles in our (Macksville) area, whereas we sell second-hand trucks Australia-wide,” Mr Smith said.

“I have $5 million of stock with 30 per cent being late model vehicles.

“At least 30 people work in reconditioning plus numerous contractors from Kempsey to Coffs Harbour, who paint vehicles, repair windscreens or provide us with tyres.

“If sales of reconditioned trucks drop off, it will have a dramatic knock-on effect on employment.”

He said given the option of buying a late model second-hand truck or a new one with a 30 per cent rebate, buyers would naturally go for the new ones.

“All new commercial vehicles are imported anyway - how does that help keep money in Australia?”

He said sales had already been affected by the 10 per cent commercial tax rebate included in pre-Christmas stimulus package.

The CEO of Motor Traders Association NSW, James McCall, said a letter was being sent to Treasury on Friday alerting them to the anomaly.

“I am sure this is an oversight, however it could have serious unintended consequences for employment in Australia,” Mr McCall said.

“There are a lot of jobs and a lot of work done in the used-truck market.

“This rebate will make new trucks cheaper and therefore cause the price of second-hand trucks to fall.

“If dealers can't sell their second-hand trucks this will further unsettle the banks.”

He said the Association was seeking an urgent response from the government to “put a bandaid on this sore they have caused”.

Federal MP for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker said making the rebate only applicable to the purchase of new assets would affect jobs in an area where unemployment was already high.

He said he had written to the treasurer, Wayne Swan, calling on the government to review “this poorly thought-out policy” and include the purchase of second-hand assets in the rebate.

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