Rudd responds to Trucking Industry

The trucking industry and working families will benefit from the Australian Government’s decision to delay increasing the fuel tax paid by trucking operators, the Chief Executive of the Australian Trucking Association, Stuart St Clair, says.

St Clair says the trucking industry was also a winner from the Government’s $70 million Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Plan.

“Minister Albanese has listened to the industry and delivered a strong result for trucking operators and Australian families,” Mr St Clair says.

“He inherited a proposal that the National Transport Commission (NTC) developed under the previous government.”

“The proposal would have increased the fuel tax paid by trucking operators from 1 July 2008. The increased charges would have flowed through into the price of almost every product sold in Australia.”

“We argued that the proposal should be rejected completely, but the state and territory governments were determined to push it through,” St Clair says.

“Mr Albanese and the Rudd Government listened to our concerns and were able to delay the increase in the fuel tax until 1 January 2009.”

“The delay will save the industry about $40 million and will help keep prices down for Australian families.”

“The trucking industry will also benefit from the Australian Government’s Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Plan,” St Clair says.

Under the plan, the Government will spend $70 million over four years on some of the key safety and productivity issues affecting the industry.

“The plan will fund:

  • the construction of more heavy vehicle rest stops along highways and on the outskirts of Australia’s major cities.
  • upgrades to key freight routes so trucks can carry heavier loads. Upgrading freight routes is a key productivity reform that will enable the industry to keep freight costs down.
  • a trial of using black boxes in trucks to help monitor drivers’ working hours and truck speeds.

“We will be holding discussions with the Government about its plan to index the fuel tax paid by trucking operators,” says Stuart St Clair.

“The trucking industry believes in paying our fair share, but no more than our fair share.”

“We will want to be sure that the indexation does not increase the charges on the industry above what we should be paying,” he says.

Mr Albanese announced the Government’s decision after a meeting of the Australian Transport Council, which consists of the Australian, state and territory transport ministers.

As a result of the meeting, the states and territories will increase registration charges for 69 per cent of the heavy vehicles in Australia.

The increased registration charges will be phased in over three years.

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