ATA to push case for stimulus package

ATA prepares to argue its case for $42 billion stimulus package after it was sent to a senate committee

By Brad Gardner

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) is preparing to argue its case for the $42 billion stimulus package after it was sent to a senate committee.

The Senate today voted to send the package to the Finance and Public Administration Committee after the Opposition refused to support it and the Greens wanted more time to scrutinise the legislation.

Treasury representatives will today give evidence, while non-government organisations will have the chance to offer their opinions on Monday.

A spokesman for the ATA says he has contacted the committee to argue on behalf of the industry.

"I’ve indicated the ATA is interested in giving evidence," the spokesman says.

"We would use the hearing to emphasise the importance of road safety and maintenance measures in the stimulus package."

The multi-billion dollar investment announced this week by the Rudd Government will, if passed, invest another $90 million in the Black Spot funding program and $150 million on highway maintenance.

Funds will also be spent constructing 200 boom gates on high-risk level crossings.

The ATA is adamant the measures must be passed, which are in line with the group’s pre-Budget submission.

In its submission, the ATA called for more to be done fixing current road infrastructure rather than long-term big-ticket items.

The Black Spot program involves funding measures such as traffic signals and roundabouts on dangerous routes.

The spokesman says the ATA will also argue for the 30 percent tax reduction for small business, which extends to vehicles.

But while the Opposition intends on blocking the package, the Greens are supporting it.

"The Opposition is going to block the stimulus package; the Greens will work to enhance it," Senator Bob Brown says.

He says the minor party wants additional sitting days next week to give the Senate time to deal with the package.

The Government needs the support of the Greens, Family First’s Steve Fielding and Independent Nick Xenophon to pass the package.

Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull says the Government should instead be cutting taxes, and says the Coalition will not support the package because it will burden Australia with too much debt.

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