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Baillieu scraps truck tax for licence fee at Port of Melbourne

Government dumps truck tax at Port of Melbourne, replacing it with a licence fee in a move welcomed by industry

By Ruza Zivkusic | July 13, 2011

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has welcomed the Baillieu Government’s announcement to scrap a controversial truck tax at the Port of Melbourne, saying “it’s a win of common sense”.

VTA Deputy CEO Neil Chambers, who campaigned loudly against the tax, says it is “inequitable” and would create “great distortions in the container road transport market in Melbourne, sending many small to medium size businesses to the wall”.

Victorian Ports Minister Denis Napthine has told ATN the government decided to remove the former Labor government’s infrastructure charge because it would significantly burden Victorian truck operators.

“It would also discriminate very unfairly against smaller operators, smaller trucks and particularly exporters from regional and rural Victoria, they would have been very hard hit,” Napthine says.

“We are going to replace this inefficient infrastructure charge that was unfair and unreasonable with a simple licence fee to be applied to the port of Melbourne.”

Napthine says the fee will be collected through the port’s normal charging system across a range of port users.

He says the government is committed to reducing congestion in and around the port and has currently assigned the Department of Transport to look into truck traffic issues in Footscray following residents’ lobbying for trucks to be taken off the roads.

“The traffic congestion in the inner suburbs around the Port of Melbourne and on some of our major routes during peak hour is just horrendous, it’s not only driving people mad but it is also costly,” Napthine says.

“It makes us less efficient so if we can manage our freight task better to get out containers in and out of the port in a more efficient way without so much congestion, then we’re going to get a cheaper transport logistics system and we’re going to get happier commuters and we’re gong to get less environmental damage.”

Chambers says the VTA and its members will continue to work with the government to improve the efficiency and productivity of the inland transport task.

“We also agree with the minister’s observation that such a tax would have had negative impacts on exporters and transport operators in regional and rural Victoria,” he says.

“We understand that the Victorian Government has budget pressures and needs to continue to raise sufficient revenue to fund much needed transport infrastructure developments in the future.”

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