Freeze fuel tax on truckers: ATA

ATA implores ministers to freeze fuel excise and slash registration fees when they vote on heavy vehicle charges tomorrow

March 20, 2012

The trucking lobby is imploring transport ministers to freeze the fuel excise and slash registration fees when they meet tomorrow to vote on a new round of heavy vehicle charges.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) wants the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure (SCOTI) to reject a National Transport Commission proposal to increase the fuel excise by 2.4 cents per litre from July 1.

Ministers will also decide whether to accept the NTC proposal to reduce A-trailer registration fees in return for higher charges on other heavy vehicles. The ATA wants a standard trailer charge for semi-trailers and A-trailers re-introduced.

ATA Chairman David Simon says the group’s proposal will reduce the fee for a tri-axle A-trailer from $6525 to $1472, in turn reducing the charge for a nine-axle B-double from $15,708 to $10,995.

The NTC in December last year released proposed heavy vehicle charges, which involved cutting the cost of a tri-axle A-trailer to $3480 and slicing $3033 off the price of registering a tandem-axle unit.

It has not publicly released the final proposal that will be voted on, but the ATA claims it will lead to a 10.4 percent increase in the fuel tax.

"Many trucking operators are already doing it tough, with parts of the economy still in the doldrums and our customers demanding more and more supply chain efficiencies, which is their code word for cutting rates," ATA Chairman David Simon says.

"Now the NTC wants ministers to impose even higher taxes on trucking operators, even though the trucking industry pays more than its fair share in road charges."

Simon says A-trailer registration feesare forcing operators to move away from using B-doubles.

The NTC was last year tasked with looking at ways to reduce the cost burden on operators. Its draft proposal listed four possible charging options, including changing the revenue split so more money is raised through the fuel excise.

It labelled the approach as one that could be seen as a positive step toward direct pricing.

"The NTC’s options would just mean higher costs for the small businesses that make up the trucking industry. There would be less money to spend on safety and maintenance, higher costs for our exporters and higher prices at the supermarket," Simon says.

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