EDITORIAL: Sargent Schultz defence hides price hikes from operators

By: Jason Whittaker

The Sargent Schultz defence is on high rotation at the National Transport Commission bunker in Melbourne. They like to keep

The Sargent Schultz defence is on high rotation at the National Transport Commission bunker in Melbourne. They like to keep secrets. Even when it fundamentally impacts how you will do business in the coming year.

It took ATN to reveal late last year the final road pricing figures calculated by the Commission, figures that will see multi-combination vehicle owners pay astronomically more in registration fees in the years ahead. If they didn’t fall off the back of the proverbial truck the NTC had no intention of releasing them.

A new year has dawned but the Commission is still playing dumb. It can’t confirm if the numbers have been finalised (they have), when the figures will be voted on by transport ministers (the vote has been delayed) or just when the new regime could be introduced (it seems likely the intended July 1 introduction could be pushed out to later in the year).

Such an important document like the regulatory impact statement on the road pricing figures will only be released after the vote has taken place.

This from an organisation that promised greater consultancy and transparency.

Remember, rego fees on B-Doubles and double and triple road trains will jump by more than $1300 in a matter of months if the proposals are accepted. And all truck owners face a devastating 1.36 cents per litre hike in diesel excise in times of record-high pump prices.

Truck owners need to know what they’re facing. They need to adjust their contracts and begin negotiations with customers. They may need to reconfigure their fleets entirely.

Transparency is the least the NTC can do.

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