The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has put forward to the Australian Government a range of bushfire recovery measures aimed at assisting bushfire affected trucking businesses.

Developed by the ATA General Council and presented to the Deputy Prime Minister in a teleconference yesterday, the plan sets out the immediate, medium, and long-term assistance needed by Australian trucking businesses affected by the bushfire crisis.

“The impact these fires have had on trucking businesses and their employees is unprecedented. Some have lost their homes, workplaces or equipment. Others have been dealing with prolonged time away from their families, suffering financial loss and personal hardship as a result of road closures and lengthy delays,” ATA Chair Geoff Crouch said.

“First and foremost, we have recommended the Disaster Recovery Allowance be made available as a wage subsidy to employers who can demonstrate loss or hardship as a result of the bushfires and that the allowance or any wage subsidy be extended from 13 to 26 weeks.”

“We also believe that the Western Australian Shires of Dundas and Coolgardie should be disaster declared, so owner drivers held up by the closure of the Eyre and Coolgardie-Esperance highways can access the assistance,” he said. 

The ATA also proposes that the instant asset write off be extended to enable businesses to secure cashflow advantages. 

“We believe the Government should increase the asset write off to $50,000 for one year only, with the higher write off to come to an end on 1 July 2021. At present, the write off is scheduled to fall from $30,000 to $1000 on 1 July 2020,” Mr Crouch said. 

Mr Crouch said the ATA had called for the postponement of planned increases to truck taxes, which would see businesses pay an extra $132.8 million in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20. 

“Given the cashflow implications of increasing the road user and registration charges, any increases in the road user and registration charges should occur from 1 July 2021 rather than 1 July 2020,” Mr Crouch said. 

“With the industry already struggling as a result of the bushfires, the introduction of this increase in 2020 would only add to their burden,” he said. 

Mr Crouch said for the longer term, the ATA had proposed extending the Farm Management Deposits Scheme to eligible trucking businesses. 

“To help the trucking industry weather future natural disasters, the FMD scheme should be extended to include trucking businesses that receive more than 50 per cent of their income from sectors that currently have access to FMDs,” Mr Crouch said.   

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