Hikes delayed: NSW offers rego reprieve to truckers

NSW truck operators win reprieve on rego hikes, with State delaying increases until next year

New South Wales trucking operators have won a reprieve on registration hikes, with the State delaying increases until next year.

Roads Minister Michael Daley has announced the national increases to heavy vehicle registration fees will be delayed until January 1, 2010.

Under the changes, most heavy vehicles will see a 3.2 percent increase in registration charges, but charges on B-doubles will rise from about $9,000 to over $12,000 per year.

Daley made the decision after consulting with the Road Freight Advisory Council, which is made up of government and industry representatives.

"The council has advised that a six month freeze would give operators time to adjust to the changes and in light of the global financial crisis, I believe that’s fair," Daley says.

"The last thing we want is to place an unnecessary burden on our freight operators at a time when many operators are already doing it tough."

Ron Finemore, who runs Finemore Transport and is a part of the council, says Daley should be congratulated for his decision.

"These are difficult economic times for all and the Minister's initiative shows he's on top of the issues involved," Finemore says.

The higher charges will be introduced as part of the National Charging Reform Heavy Vehicle Determination, with the new fees having the greatest impact on B-double registration.

The cost of registering a semi-trailer, however, will rise by $240.

Daley says 90 percent of small trucks will pay a 3.2 percent increase, but larger combinations will need to pay more due to the damage they cause to the road network.

"These reforms will affect 150,000 heavy vehicles and trailers registered in NSW and we want to make sure heavy vehicle drivers aren’t hit hard by the changes," Daley says.

The Government also plans on running an information campaign in the lead-up to the new fees to ensure the industry is aware of the changes.

Jill Lewis from the NSW branch of the Australian Trucking Association says the delay will be welcomed by trucking operators struggling due to the declining economy.

"This extra six months will give operators more time to get ready for the higher charges and to negotiate contracts with their customers to reflect their increased costs," Lewis says.

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