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Coronavirus response must help truck owner-drivers

20 March 2020

The Australian Government’s economic response to the coronavirus epidemic must include help for truck owner-drivers, Australian Trucking Association (ATA) Chair Geoff Crouch said today.

The Australian Trucking Association and its member associations collectively represent the 50,000 businesses and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry. Together, the ATA and its members are committed to safety, professionalism and viability.

Mr Crouch said there are 28,900 owner-drivers in Australia, who make up 54 per cent of the trucking industry. They have a crucial role in our supply chains.

“Owner drivers do not employ staff, so they are not eligible for assistance under the Boosting Cashflow for Employers measure, which the Government announced last week,” Mr Crouch said.

“But they are not employees either, so they have no access to paid sick leave.

“Our submission recommends that owner drivers and other non-employing businesses should be eligible for financial assistance in the Government’s next economic package, including an equivalent of paid sick leave,” he said.

Mr Crouch said ATA members had consistently identified payroll tax as one of the key financial impediments they will face in the coming months.

“Although the ATA recognises that payroll taxes are the responsibility of the states, governments should unite, through the National Cabinet, to provide businesses with consistent and generous payroll tax exemptions to maintain employment,” he said.

ATA member associations in each state are ready to provide input to state governments on the additional payroll tax exemptions that industry will require.”

The submission also recommends:

  • an increase in the instant asset write-off threshold to $450,000 for Australian-made equipment, and the extension of the delivery timeframe to 31 December 2020
  • a 12 month guarantee for small/medium business equipment loan repayments, on top of the banks’ announcement today that they will defer loan repayments for affected small businesses by six months
  • setting the road user charge on fuel to zero for the June quarter 2020 and deferring the 1 July 2020 increase in the road user and registration charges for a year.

Read the ATA submission