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Be flexible with JobKeeper payments for essential businesses like trucking

23 April 2020

Trucking businesses and other providers of essential services should be automatically eligible for JobKeeper Payments if they need to stand down staff, Australian Trucking Association CEO Ben Maguire said today. 

Under the current JobKeeper rules, businesses with a turnover of $1 billion or less are eligible if their turnover falls 30 per cent. Businesses with a turnover of more than $1 billion are eligible if their turnover falls 50 per cent. 

“Trucking businesses transport farm products, groceries, fuel, medical supplies, chemicals and all the other products needed to sustain our economy and society,” Mr Maguire said. 

“The continued operation of these businesses needs to be a national priority. 

“Trucking and the provision of trucking services involve high fixed costs and low margins, because of the cost of keeping modern, reliable trucks and fully equipped depots and workshops. 

“In a submission to the Treasurer, we used financial modelling developed by the Queensland Trucking Association to show that a representative trucking business would cease to be viable if its turnover declined 15 per cent. It would not be able to retain enough staff to do enough work to meet the financing cost of its fleet. 

“The ATA believes that government policy should not force businesses to close when they are trying to hang on, keep trading and keep as many of their people employed as possible,” he said. 

In the submission, the ATA calls on the Government to: 

  • allow the tax commissioner to establish an alternative test for essential service providers such as trucking businesses, so that any essential service provider that stands down staff is automatically eligible for JobKeeper Payments 
  • alternatively, if it is considered that a turnover reduction test for essential service providers, including trucking, is needed, the test should be aligned with the 15 per cent decline in turnover test for ACNC registered charities. 
  • ensure that the first and second fortnightly payments under JobKeeper are made as early as possible. 

The ATA has previously urged the Government to remove the $1 billion breakpoint in the JobKeeper scheme. 

ATA submission