ATA to push for more rest areas

ATA will push for increased investment in rest areas when both sides of politics hit the campaign trail this year

By Brad Gardner | May 13, 2010

The peak trucking lobby will use this year's federal election campaign to seek greater government investment in rest areas.

With the final $20 million of the $70 million Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program being allocated in this year’s federal Budget, the scheme is due to expire in the 2011-12 financial year.

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

"We will be urging both sides of politics to extend the program as part of their election announcements," Australian Trucking Association (ATA) Government Relations Manager Bill McKinley says.

Based on the increase in charges paid by the trucking industry, McKinley says the ATA will be seeking a $100 million investment over four years.

"At current prices, $100 million over four years would buy about 160 new or upgraded heavy vehicle rest areas," he says.

From July 1 this year the industry will pay an extra 4.2 percent in registration and fuel charges due to a 10.7 percent rise in government expenditure on the road network.

Meanwhile, McKinley says the ATA will be asking all sides of politics to support a Bill introduced yesterday by Albanese to amend the Interstate Road Transport Charge Act.

Without the amendment, fees for operators under the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS) will rise by 9.7 percent instead of 4.2 percent from July 1 this year.

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