Feds should adopt interventionist stance on national regs: ALC

The Federal Government should intervene on behalf of trucking if the states use national regulations to raise revenue, ALC says

Feds should adopt interventionist stance on national regs: ALC
Feds should adopt interventionist stance on national regs: ALC
By Brad Gardner | February 19, 2013

The Federal Government should intervene on behalf of trucking if the states and territories use national heavy vehicle regulations to gouge operators on charges, the Australian Logistics Council says.

In a speech to the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies today, ALC Managing Director Michael Kilgariff (pictured) put the onus on Canberra to act as a bulwark against jurisdictions using service level agreements as a revenue raiser for non-transport related projects.

Under thel reforms, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) will strike agreements with the states and territories to enforce regulations on its behalf.

Governments will then charge the NHVR for services provided. The trucking industry will effectively be footing the bill because road user charges will fund the regulator.

"The Commonwealth needs to ensure that states and territories providing the services to the regulator for a fee under SLAs [service level agreements] do not attempt to shift the costs of other areas of responsibility onto operators through excessive charges imposed on the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator," Kilgariff told the Institute.

"It would be unconscionable for states and territories to use this scheme as a device to directly tax heavy vehicle operators for revenue. ALC looks to the Australian Government, as a strong promoter of harmonised transport laws, to ensure this does not happen."

Kilgariff reiterated comments made previously that service level agreements should be made publically available so trucking operators can see what services they are paying for.

"This is to ensure they are receiving value for money and are not being used as a general revenue source to fund non-logistics related services," he says.

"That is only fair in what is arguably a user-pays system. If the user must pay, the user has a right to know what is being provided and how much that costs."

During his speech, Kilgariff also touched on the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal and the work currently underway on reforming heavy vehicle charges.

Although he says the ALC opposed the creation of the tribunal, Kilgariff adds that the group will work with it to make sure it achieves its aim of improving heavy vehicle safety.

He says the Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment Reform (HVCI), which is examining options to replace heavy vehicle registration and fuel charges with a new funding model, is likely to suggest a move to mass-distance-location pricing.

"In layman’s terms, this means you pay according to how far you drive, where you drive, and how heavy your vehicle is," Kilgariff says.

"Fundamentally, ALC would support proposals that improved productivity, efficiency and safety in the industry."

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