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Freeze rego and fuel charges, ATA says

Trucking operators face being overcharged $117 million next financial year.


The trucking industry will be overcharged $117 million next financial year unless Australia’s governments freeze registration and fuel excise fees, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) says.

The ATA has asked transport ministers to reject a National Transport Commission (NTC) proposal to increase charges on July 1 by 0.6 per cent.

The PayGo model used to determine heavy vehicle charges is outdated, and the ATA says continuing to rely on it will result in operators being billed too much.

“The industry has been overcharged since 2007 because the NTC’s charging model underestimates the number of trucks on the road,” ATA CEO Chris Melham says.

“The NTC recognises that the model is flawed, but Australia’s state and territory transport ministers have not yet implemented the NTC’s options for changing it.

“The NTC has recommended a 0.6 per cent increase in heavy vehicle charges. If the increase occurs, the heavy vehicle industry will be overcharged by some $117 million in 2015-16.”

The Federal Government last year froze the fuel excise, but state and territory governments decided to increase registration charges.

“It should continue to freeze the road user charge in 2015-16, and Australia’s state and territory transport ministers should freeze registration charges for the same period,” Melham says.

The existing model used to determine charges, which the NTC recommended be replaced, underestimates the number of heavy vehicles using Australia’s roads by more than 50,000.

In a written submission to the NTC, the ATA says the model led to trucking operators being overcharged $200 million this financial year.

“This is because the PayGo model uses a lagged heavy vehicle population but the most up-to-date expenditure figures,” the submission states.

“This lag underestimates the true number of heavy vehicles on the road, leading to charges being much higher than they should be.”

The NTC released a number of options in late 2013 to reform heavy vehicle charges.

The ATA has asked transport ministers to implement the NTC’s ‘Option A’ proposal, which recommends technical adjustments to the current system while also maintaining the existing charging split between the fuel excise and registration fees (62.1 per cent and 37.9 per cent).

The technical improvements include axle group charging for trailers and using updated data to develop charges.

Photography: Brad Gardner

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