Industry damning of NTC registration fee hike

Confluence of rising charges, costs inflation and natural disasters causes dismay

By Ruza Zivkusic | February 28, 2011

The transport industry has slammed the National Transport Commission’s (NTC) decision to increase registration fee charges for heavy vehicles, saying trucking operators are already doing it tough.

The 2.4 percent rise coincides with the road user charge increase of 2.4 percent.

NatRoad Chief Executive Bernie Belacic says now is not a good time to implement the increase as many companies are still struggling to recover from the Queensland’s floods and cyclone.

"Times are not good at all for the transport industry, it’s just another hit on the transport industry," Belacic says.

"Inflation is going up and the transport industry is hugely exposed to labour and fuel costs which have gone up dramatically in the last three to six months.

"It’s going to make business conditions in the transport industry extremely tough and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more transport companies going to the wall simply because they cannot take or afford the ongoing increase in charges.

"It is particularly going to have a big impact on A-trailer charges, they are just way overpriced."

The South Australian Road Transport Association (Sarta)
Executive Director Steve Shearer says many companies are registering their vehicles interstate to avoid registration hikes in South Australia.

"Nobody is happy with the registration fee increases and we’re certainly not happy with the fees on B-doubles," Shearer says.

"I know of at least half a dozen companies, including sizeable companies, who are registering in Western Australia because it’s cheaper, they’re simply paying the lower fee of a difference of $10,000 per trailer.

"If the government doesn’t get realistic about registration fees then they need to understand that the industry will respond by choosing to register at the cheapest place.

"They will have to push the industry away from B-doubles and back to semi-trailers; there will be more trucks on the road, more environmental impacts because there will be more engine pulling the same amount of freight and more congestion and frustration on the road."

He believes the Federal Government needs to deliver a structured fuel-base system that is cost effective.

"They also need to commit to spend all of that money, every cent of it, on the roads," Shearer adds.

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