ATA hightlights key trucking issues


Melham calls for an independent economic regulator for road charges and regulated service delivery standards

ATA hightlights key trucking issues
ATA CEO Christopher Melham has highlighted three key trucking issues before next month's federal elections.

 

With the federal election less than a month away, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has released its priority task list for the next government.

The three key issues highlighted in its fact sheet include: guarantee that the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) will not be reinstated; implementation of practical measures to improve road safety; and greater support for trucking businesses.

ATA CEO Christopher Melham has renewed his call to political parties and candidates to not re-establish the RSRT or introduce a similar price-fixing mechanism if they come to power following the July elections.

"Small trucking businesses subject to the RSRT’s price-fixing order found that it was inflexible and increased costs by 20-30 per cent. This made them uncompetitive," Melham says.

"The tribunal also imposed an enormous paperwork burden on businesses.

"One independent report estimated the total compliance cost to the industry at $56 million a year for each of the tribunal’s two orders – $2,000 per year for each affected business."

Last month, ATA released new statistics showing a considerable decline in fatal truck crash figures in Australia since 1982.

The trucking body is making a fresh call to political parties to support "practical measures" to improve road safety.

"The next government must press on with measures to improve safety, including intelligence led, targeted enforcement to deal with the small minority of businesses that ignore the law.

"We also want to see the next government mandate truck and trailer stability control technology from 2019 for new model trucks and trailers and from 2020 for new trucks and trailers, with appropriate exemptions.

Melham notes that other vehicles on roads sometimes inadvertently become the cause of fatal truck crashes.

"We are calling for a share of the $15.6 million allocated to the NHVR from the abolition of the RSRT to go to an information campaign for car drivers about how to share the road safely with trucks.

"The campaign should run nationally, including in Western Australia and the Northern Territory."

Melham says the next government should help strengthen the trucking community, which "almost entirely" consists of small businesses facing financial challenges.

"The ATA is calling on political parties and candidates to announce they would, if elected, agree to work with the industry on the development of a mandatory code under the Competition and Consumer Act.

"The code would cover payment terms for small trucking businesses and related issues, including a ban on unfair set offs and pay when paid arrangements.

"The National Transport Commission has concluded that truck and bus operators will be overtaxed by more than half a billion dollars over the next two years.

"Australia’s transport ministers agreed to freeze revenue from truck and bus registration charges and the road user charge on fuel to prevent the overcharging becoming worse.

"The next government should reduce the road user charge to 25.3 cents per litre in 2017-18, following the Coalition Government’s decision to reduce it for 2016-17.

"This further reduction is needed to deliver the commitment to freeze revenue from the charge.

He says the next government should also begin "work on establishing an independent economic regulator for road charges and regulated service delivery standards for roads, to take effect once the revenue freeze ends in 2017-18.

"The overtaxing must end; the industry must get the roads it pays for."

In the months to come, the ATA will release state by state report cards for all major political parties and key candidates "assessing their policies against the industry’s election issues: no RSRT, practical measures to improve road safety and support for stronger trucking businesses".

 

 

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