End rego fees as part of tax overhaul, trucking group says


Trucking group calls for tax overhaul, including a fuel levy in favour of registration fees

By Brad Gardner | October 21, 2009

Current registration fees should be abolished in favour of an industry-friendly user pays model, a trucking group argues.

The National Road Freighters Association (NRFA) has proposed replacing the current heavy vehicle registration system with a 7 cent fuel levy deducted from the fuel rebate when operators submit their BAS statements.

Because the levy will be deducted over the course of a year, the NRFA says smaller companies and those struggling to maintain profits will benefit because they will not be hit with a one-off bill.

Furthermore, a fee will only be deducted if a truck is consuming fuel, which NRFA National Treasurer Peter Whytcross says is good news for operators suffering a decline in work.

"For those who are doing it tough and sitting around waiting…you won’t be looking for money to pay registration on a truck not using the road," he says.

"Our plan is to do away with the registration as we currently know it."

Whytcross says governments will see an increase in revenue because the number of litres of diesel used will supersede the income gained from annual registration fees.

However, the group has opposed indexing the levy.

The NRFA wants the scheme introduced nationally, saying it will be simple to do because the fuel excise is collected by the federal government.

Whytcross says the level of revenue to be distributed to the states can be worked out using one of three methods: fuel sales, the location of the registered vehicle or by dividing the revenue by the number of kilometres in each jurisdiction.

The third option would likely be opposed by New South Wales which is significantly smaller than Queensland and Western Australia but carries the most road freight nationwide.

The NRFA, which claims it has almost 400 members, made the proposal in a submission to a review of Australia’s tax system.

Whytcross has also called for a flat $100 fee for all trailers.

"Having a low fee will ensure operators will register trailers and be less likely to use unregistered gear as the trend is now," he says.

Whytcross says machinery booking fees should be included in the charge to remove the need for owner-drivers and operators to spend time and money organising booking times.

Treasurer Wayne Swan announced last year a review into Australia’s tax system. Treasury Secretary Ken Henry is due to release the review’s recommendations in December this year.

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