Cut fuel charge, boost rest area funding, ATA tells Federal Government

Photography by: Brad Gardner


Pre-Budget submission says charges need to be lowered and rest area investment increased next financial year.

Cut fuel charge, boost rest area funding, ATA tells Federal Government
Australian Trucking Association CEO Chris Melham.

 

The fuel tax imposed on trucking operators should be lowered and investment in rest areas increased in next year’s Federal Budget, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) says.

The ATA has released its pre-Budget wishlist for 2016-17, with a key focus on reducing charges on trucking operators while ensuring they still receive adequate roadside facilities.

The ATA says the Federal Government needs to lower the fuel tax from 26.1 cents to 25.9 cents and then pour more money into the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program and the Bridges Renewal Program.

Since its introduction, the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program has predominantly directed funding toward building new and upgrading current rest areas.

The ATA says its recommendations should be implemented to offset the level of overcharging that has occurred due to governments relying on outdated data to determine annual registration and fuel charges.

"The trucking industry pays for our use of the road system through heavy vehicle registration fees and a road user charge on fuel, currently 26.14 cents per litre. The industry has been overcharged since 2007, because the system used to calculate the charges underestimates the number of trucks on the roads," ATA CEO Chris Melham says.



"Last year, governments agreed to freeze their revenue from heavy vehicle charges in response to this problem. But truck and bus operators will still be overtaxed by $250.2 million in 2016-17 and $264.8 million in 2017-18."

It estimates its proposals, if introduced, will save an owner-driver about $200 next financial year and save a small fleet operator about $1,100.

The ATA also wants the fuel excise to drop further to 25.3 cents in 2017-18 and for funding under the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program and the Bridges Renewal Program to increase.

"Our submission recommends that the Government should address its share of the overcharging by reducing the road user chargeto 25.9 cents per litre in 2016-17 and 25.3 cents per litre in 2017-18," Melham says.



"The Government should then address the rest of its overcharging by increasing its funding for the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program and the Bridges Renewal Program by $49 million in 2016-17 and $52.1 million in 2017-18. There would, as a result, be more truck rest areas and a more productive road system."

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