Working group set up to tackle A-trailer fees

NTC announces formation of a government-industry working group to address crippling A-trailer registration fees

Working group set up to tackle A-trailer fees
Working group set up to tackle A-trailer fees
By Brad Gardner | July 1, 2011

An industry-government working group has been set up to address rising A-trailer registration fees, with proposals set to go before transport ministers before the end of the year.

The National Transport Commission (NTC) today announced the working group will involve representatives from the NTC, the trucking industry and road transport agencies.

With the first meeting scheduled early this month, the NTC says the group will look at possible short and long-term solutions.

"The NTC will continue to provide further updates on the website and will report the recommendations of the A-Trailer Review to road transport ministers in November 2011," it says in a statement.

The NTC says it conducted investigations throughout May and June on A-trailer charges and discussed the issue with industry associations, operators and governments.

Based on the feedback it received, the NTC says the trucking industry is concerned about the effect of large registration charges on cash flow and the inability to recoup the costs compared to fuel.

Operators also reported pricing issues which differ due to location, industry sector and vehicle usage and complained of a difficulty in competing with road trains when using B-doubles and B-triples.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) earlier this year cited industry unrest over the cost of A-trailers, which have shot to well over $6,000 annually due to a 2007 decision by governments to remove a subsidy on B-doubles.

The cost of registering a B-double combination has hit $15,708, with the 2.4 percent increase to registration charges beginning today.

According to the ATA, the high cost of keeping a B-double on the road is discouraging operators from registering them.

In its submission earlier this year opposing the 2.4 percent increase, the group raised productivity and safety concerns from operators switching to cheaper options such as semi-trailers.

"Having more single configuration heavy vehicles undertaking the nation’s growing freight task is a severe productivity setback. This increased exposure risk contributes to additional environmental and safety impacts," the ATA says.

The Australian Livestock Transporters Association (ALTA) has been vocal in advocating reform for its regional and rural members, which must pay the high fee despite using the trailer sporadically.

The ALTA has called for a number of measures to ease the cost burden on industry, including low mileage discounts, seasonal registration and specialised classifications for certain combinations.

Related stories:
ATA rejects road charges amid calls for A-trailer reforms
Furious lobbying underway to get relief from A-trailer fees
NTC to consult industry on A-trailer fees
ALTA maintains reform momentum with push for A-trailer reprieve

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