Senate rejects increased charges for interstate trucks

The state governments and Northern Territory should give up on their plan to increase truck registration charges now that the Senate has rejected the increases for interstate trucks and trucks in the ACT.

Australia’s transport ministers plan to increase registration charges on 75 per cent of the heavy vehicles in Australia.

The Australian Truck Association (ATA) says the increased charges were to be phased in from 1 July 2008, but the Senate has defeated the two Bills that would have implemented the increased charges for interstate trucks and those registered in the ACT.

Chief Executive Stuart St Clair, says the state governments and the Northern Territory should listen to the Senate vote and give up on the increased registration charges.

“The increased charges were recommended by the National Transport Commission (NTC), but the Senate vote shows its recommendations were questionable,” he says.

“The trucking industry is already overcharged by $130 million a year, so the NTC should have advised the Australian, state and territory governments to reduce the charges on the trucking industry.”

“Instead, it used uncheckable data from the state and territory road agencies to persuade the governments to increase the charges by $168 million a year.”

“The increased charges will impose an enormous burden on trucking operators, particularly small operators and owner-drivers.”

“They will also remove the incentive for operators to use safer, larger and more productive trucks by imposing massive increases on modern vehicles like B-doubles.”

“B-double registration charges will increase from $8,041 to $14,340.”

“Under the increased charges, operators will pay $65.3 million toward the cost of enforcing the road transport laws.”

“The $65.3 million figure was based on figures provided by the states and territories.”

“The industry can’t scrutinise their figures; the state and territory enforcement agencies don’t have to improve their performance to get the money, and it’s not offset against their revenue from fines.”

“The NTC also recommended that the Australian Government should increase the effective fuel tax paid by trucking operators from 1 July 2008.”

“The Government listened to the trucking industry’s concerns about the inflationary effects of increasing fuel taxes and deferred the increase until 1 January 2009.”

“The state governments and the Northern Territory should now try listening, too.”

“They should listen to the Senate vote, and call a halt to their plan to increase registration charges,” St Clair says.

The Senate’s defeat of the increased charges will only affect long distance trucks registered under the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS) and the 3,000 heavy vehicles registered in the ACT.

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