06 November 2015

ALRTA is fuming after transport ministers agreed to overcharge trucking operators.

A ministerial meeting that hatched a plan to rip off trucking operators for at least the next two years has been blasted as a “blatant opportunistic tax grab”.

The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) has taken aim at transport ministers for agreeing today to stick with the flawed heavy vehicle charging formula that is responsible for excessive registration and fuel fees.

Ministers agreed to freeze existing revenue from charges at 2015-16 levels for the next two years. Revenue from 2015-16 charges is already about $200 million more than what should be collected from trucking operators.

ALRTA president Kevin Keenan says he is “bitterly disappointed” with the ministers’ decision, given that the National Transport Commission (NTC) informed governments in 2014 that changes were needed.

“Today, ministers had a chance to return to fair cost recovery principles but have instead ignored the advice of their own statutory authority and opted to continue the blatant opportunistic tax grab,” Keenan says.

“Not one of the ministers present was prepared to do the right thing by industry.

“Revenue is being frozen at a level calculated under a flawed model. Governments will now collect $3.2 billion no matter how much they spend on roads.

“Given that government expenditure on road infrastructure actually decreased during the past two years of over-charging, we can now expect to see further deferment of road spending.”

The NTC recommended in 2014 a 6.3 per cent decrease in registration charges and a 1.14 cents per litre drop in the fuel excise to prevent the industry from being overtaxed. Ministers at the time deferred a decision until July 1 next year.

“I have lost confidence that governments will ever fix this problem.  We have already had a two year delay and that has just been followed by yet another two year delay,” Keenan says.

He believes governments are working toward a mass-distance-location charging model, which bills individual trucks based on the weight they are carrying, the distance they travel and the roads they use.

Extracted in full from Owner Driver.