Toll road charges must be independent: ATA

The planned independent price regulator for truck charges must have the power to regulate toll road and landside port charges. Extra local government road use charges must be banned, the chairman of the Australian Trucking Association Geoff Crouch said.
The Australian Government issued a consultation paper last month on establishing an independent price regulator for the fuel-based road user charge and the very high registration charges paid by trucking operators. The ATA has now published its submission.
“Our members are being hammered by rapidly increasing toll road charges, landside port charges and local government charges,” Mr Crouch said.
“On the M7 in Sydney, for example, truck tolls have increased from the same amount as cars to three times the car toll. Trucking businesses can’t avoid these tolls – it’s not like you can transport a pallet of cleaning products on a bus or bike.
“The ACCC’s announcement that it would not oppose the Transurban consortium bid for WestConnex, followed by the NSW Government’s announcement that the bid was successful, confirms that new laws are needed to control these spiralling charges,” he said.
Mr Crouch said the independent regulator should also have power over landside port charges.
“Landside port surcharges have increased dramatically. Surcharge increases introduced in 2017 have ranged from $20 to $30 per container, and in some cases have increased twice within the one year,” he said.
“In the latest round of unwarranted charge increases, local councils in Western Australia are imposing additional access charges on heavy vehicle operators.
“The ATA submission points to one metropolitan example where a company has had to abandon operating at concessional mass limits because of the excessive local government charges. As a direct result, it now runs an additional 1,420 truck movements per year within the council area for a single product line.
“These ridiculous charges have to stop. The planned independent price regulator must be responsible for regulating toll road and landside port charges. Independent price regulation must also prevent local councils for charging extra for access to their roads.”
The ATA submission rejects the Government’s plan to change the way charges are calculated from the current PAYGO model to a forward-looking cost base.
You can read the ATA submission here.

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