House debates

Monday, 26 October 2020

Statements by Members

COVID 19: Transport Industry

1:57 pm

Photo of Susan TemplemanSusan Templeman (Macquarie, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

There's a fleet of coaches from all over Sydney outside parliament today, desperate to get assistance to keep their family owned businesses afloat. The group includes Rod Williams from Near or Far Bus and Coach in the Blue Mountains. But many didn't come, simply because they can't afford to have their coach on the road. Some are on the brink of walking away from the industry for good due to the lack of support from the Morrison government to get them to the other side of COVID. They are distressed; there's no other way to describe it. They're shattered that there is not even recognition by this government that they're profoundly affected by the shutdown of school excursions, seniors trips and journeys to the airport and by border closures. They understand that those decisions needed to be made for health reasons, but they're trying to hang on to experienced coach drivers and feed their own families with the diminishing JobKeeper.

One operator purchased a new coach two years ago. He is repaying $8,000 a month, yet that coach hasn't moved since March. As mortgage and loan holidays finish, these operators are finding the burden of depot rentals, registration costs, insurance and repayments simply too much to bear. There was nothing in the budget for them. They certainly can't spend six figures on a new coach to get an instant asset write-off, with no prospect to a return to pre-COVID demand for the foreseeable future. These operators need industry-specific assistance from the Morrison government, and they need it fast, or they'll be casualties of a government that is only pretending to care about small business.