Albo urged to extend rest area funding scheme


Rudd Government needs to extend rest area funding program beyond 2012, the trucking lobby says

By Brad Gardner | April 23, 2010

The Rudd Government is being urged to extend a truck-specific funding program when it expires in 2012.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) today called for the $70 million Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program to continue beyond the 2011-2012 financial year.

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Anthony Albanese introduced the scheme in 2008 to build new and upgrade current rest areas and finance other road projects.

"This has been an essential source of funding for significant safety related road works and cannot be left to expire," the ATA says.

A spokesman for Albanese says the Government’s immediate focus is on current expenditure, with the final round of funding under the program yet to be determined.

However, the spokesman says the Government will continue to work with the trucking industry to ensure there are roadside facilities for truck drivers.

The ATA made the request as part of its response to a proposed increase to registration and fuel charges from July 1 this year.

In its response, the ATA writes that committing to the program while considering raising charges will be applauded by the trucking industry.

"Potentially promising a portion or related value of the fuel component of the road user charge would also improve the acceptability of any charge increases," the ATA writes.

The National Transport Commission (NTC) has recommended a 4.2 percent increase to registration fees and the fuel excise, which would push the cost of a B-double beyond $15,000 and cut almost one cent from the diesel rebate.

The NTC will make a final recommendation to governments on April 30.


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