Minister annoyed as ATO consults
THE Minister for Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer has expressed her displeasure and distance from the ongoing saga between the Australian Tax Office and the trucking industry, over a controversial allowance decision.
“This is not a decision of the Australian Government. It is a decision of the ATO,” a spokesman for the Minister said.
“The Minister was disappointed to about this situation.
“However, the Minister is pleased the ATO have listened to stakeholders and are currently arranging meetings with representatives from the truck driving industry to discuss this matter further.”
The first formal discussions with the tax office on the matter took place mid-August,with industry associations presenting as a united front to call for a reversal of the travel expense determination.
NatRoad, the ATA, ARTIO, a number of state-based employer associations and the TWU were among those present.
NatRoad has described the meeting as “a robust exchange of views for close to two hours”.
A QTA newsletter on the matter had similarly detailed the meeting, acknowledging it was seen as a “fair hearing” by those that attended.
The ATO told participants it would be able to provide an update on Monday, August 21.
The government department first came under fire in July, due to its lack of consultation on its decision to slash the amount a truck driver can claim as a reasonable travel expense by 43%.
Previously drivers could claim up to $97.40 without receipts for food and drink each night they were away.
As of July 1, the price was reduced to $55.30.
Ironically, the meeting to reverse the decision took place the same week the travel allowance for Federal MPs rose from $276 a night to $285 a night when they stay in Canberra to attend parliament, only a month after they received a 2% pay rise.
ALDI’S TURN: The TWU protests out the front of Adelaide Aldi, a similar scene took place in Perth earlier this year.