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Small firms face bankrupty as fuel prices soar

FUEL FRACAS: Moura truckie Owen Broadhurst is worried the removal of the fuel subsidy will cause many trucking businesses to go to the wall.. Picture by RUSSEL GUSE.
FUEL FRACAS: Moura truckie Owen Broadhurst is worried the removal of the fuel subsidy will cause many trucking businesses to go to the wall.. Picture by RUSSEL GUSE.

OWEN Broadhurst fears he is a part of a dying breed.

The Moura truck driver said the decision by the State Government to cut the eight cents a litre fuel subsidy will have a big impact on the transport industry.

“As we all know, Australia is carted on the back of a truck,” Mr Broadhurst said.

“It will send businesses to the wall,” the owner of OMB Moura Transport Services said.

“With the global economic downturn we're scrounging to get work to stay afloat.”

Mr Broadhurst said there had already been a lot of trucks re-possessed due to the global financial crisis.

Cutting the fuel subsidy would be an extra strain on costs, on top of rising registrations, that would have to be passed onto customers.

Mr Broadhurst said the decision would target small businesses with small margins, starting with farmers and small transport businesses like his.

Queensland's fuel subsidy will be abolished next month saving the state about $2.4 billion over the next four years.

Announcing the abolition of the subsidy on Tuesday, Premier Anna Bligh said the move, from July 1, would make a significant difference to the State Budget bottom line as the global financial crisis saw Queensland revenues take a huge hit.

It is also expected to affect grocery prices, in the view of Gary Delisser from Monto IGA.

“It's very concerning,” Mr Delisser said.

“It's a foolish step by the State Government.”

Mr Delisser said it would push prices up across the board from manufactures and retailers.

Julie McDonald from Wilton's Transport agreed it was not good news for small business.

She said in the past with fuel increases they had largely attempted to absorb costs but this would be a permanent increase that would have to be passed on to customers.

“It will make Queensland living very hard,” Mrs McDonald said.

Ms Bligh defended the decision.

“The simple fact is that we have a $14 billion hole in our budget bottom line caused by the worst global recession in our lifetime and we must think carefully about what we spend and get real value for Queensland taxpayers,” Ms Bligh said.

“The fuel subsidy is a luxury we can no longer afford.”

Member for Callide Jeff Seeney told State Parliament a fuel tax will have a profound effect on every Queenslander who owned a motor car.

“It will have the greatest effect on those people who live in rural and regional Queensland where long-distance travel on a weekly or daily basis is a fact of life,” Mr Seeney said.

“Those people have no option but to use fuel in large quantities.

“It is an outrage for the Labor government to use the imposition of a fuel tax on those people as a source of funds to try to cover its economic mismanagement that has seen it go broke in a boom and rack up a record level of debt.”

Fight for the fuel subsidy

Combined with increases in vehicle registration of 10 to 15 percent from July 1, this extra fuel tax will cost most Queensland families several hundred dollars a year, while also pushing up the prices of other goods and services.

RACQ is running a petition to change the Government's mind.

You can voice your opinion and vote in the online petition at:

www.racq.com.au

It will send firms to the wall


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