Budget must not include truck tax: VTA

VTA tells government not to include proposed port tax on trucking operators in this year’s state budget

By Ruza Zivkusic | April 19, 2011

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) says the Victorian Government must not push ahead with a proposed tax on trucks when it hands down the state’s budget next month.

Deputy CEO Neil Chambers wants the plans for freight infrastructure charge at the Port of Melbourne scrapped from the budget, which will be delivered on May 3.

The previous government last year proposed charging trucks to enter stevedoring terminals at the port. The Government hoped to collect $1 billion over the next decade to contribute towards the $38 billion Victorian Transport Plan.

"What we don’t want to see included is the freight infrastructure plan; we think it’s a flawed tax and we don’t want to see it appearing in the state budget," Chambers says.

Opposition spokeswoman on roads Jacinta Allan says the government "must" use the budget to provide significant additional funding to the VicRoads network damaged by the floods earlier this year.

Allan says communities are still waiting for the Government to finish assessing the damage caused to road infrastructure, leaving many routes closed.

She wants Premier Ted Baillieu to introduce policies to ease congestion on metropolitan and suburban roads, saying he is yet to outline how he will improve roads.

The financial statement released last month revealed a $5 billion black hole and cost blowouts from the former government.

Victoria’s peak motoring body, RACV, wants a long-term integrated transport plan introduced covering road and public transport projects.

RACV’s two million members have expressed their frustrations with the road congestion and "want them resolved", RACV General Manager Brian Negus says.

"The projects required to improve roads and public transport over the next two decades must be planned now. A detailed implementation plan must be put in place to ensure these projects are delivered over this period," he says.

The RACV says road congestion costs Victorians $3 billion a year and is predicted to double by 2020.

"Congestion on Victorian roads is impacting greatly on the ability of road users to get where they need to go in a reasonable time and it’s causing enormous frustration and really crippling our state," Negus says.

"It also increases costs to the Victorian businesses which are then being passed on to consumers."

RACV has also received complaints from motorists that frequent changes to speed limits are causing confusion and frustration.

"There needs to be a consistent approach to setting speed limits to restore public confidence and ease road user frustration," Negus says.

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