The Budget Banana – Increase in $1.1bn transport charge is a split too far

May 11, 2023

AUSTRALIANS will be slugged with a hidden increase to the cost of their fruit, vegetables and most goods with the Federal Government’s plan to raise an additional $1.1bn through the Heavy Vehicle Road User charge.

Kennedy MP Bob Katter warns that the proposal for an 18 per cent increase in the Heavy Vehicle Road User Charge to balance the 2023-24 Federal Budget will cause significant price increases of goods throughout Australia but particularly in the North.

“Unless transport companies, farmers or small businesses can afford this burden, we will all have to pay the price at the checkout.”

Mr Katter said one transport company he’d spoken to in North Queensland considered this proposed budget measure would increase its annual costs by $461,000.

“Transport companies cannot, and will not, afford this cost and will have to pass on the charges to their customers – farmers and small businesses.”

As indicated by the banana graphic – the return that an Australian farmer can get for their produce is generally split to 50 per cent wages, a further 49 per cent to cover transport, fertiliser, packaging and farm maintenance with only 1 per cent remaining for the farming family.

Mr Katter said a 6 per cent increase in transport costs per year over three years would not only increase transport costs for farms but also increase the transport-related fertiliser and packaging costs – leaving nothing for the farming families.

“Either the consumer pays more for Australian fruit and vegetables or farmers walk off the land and small business will shut.”

“Something must give, either government reverses this insidious charge, or transport companies, farmers and small business go bust, or we all pay more at the checkout.

“The headline cost-of-living budget measure, the $500 in relief to our hip pocket will last less than a week – what about the other 51 weeks?.

“We are in a cost-of-living crisis, we need a government with an understanding of the implications of its decisions and the gumption to make real and tangle decisions that will assist all Australians.”