Albanese not to blame for road price hikes: industry

By: Jason Whittaker


The trucking industry doesn't blame the new Federal Government for significant road pricing increases, the trucking lobby says, and has

The trucking industry doesn't blame the new Federal Government for significant road pricing increases, the trucking lobby says, and has welcomed a $70 million injection into road safety.

Australian Trucking Association (ATA) Chief Executive Stuart St Clair says federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese "inherited" the proposal from the National Transport Commission (NTC) for steep rises in registration charges for some multi-combination vehicles along with a 1.365 increase in the diesel excise.

State and federal transport ministers agreed to the proposals at a meeting today.

"We argued that the proposal should be rejected completely, but the state and territory governments were determined to push it through," St Clair says.

He has welcomed a move by ministers to delay the introduction of the excise hike until January next year, rather than July as originally proposed, which he says will save the industry $40 million.

"The proposal would have increased the fuel tax paid by trucking operators from 1 July 2008. The increased charges would have flowed through into the price of almost every product sold in Australia," he says.

"Mr Albanese and the Rudd Government listened to our concerns and were able to delay the increase in the fuel tax until 1 January 2009. The delay will save the industry about $40 million and will help keep prices down for Australian families."

But St Clair says he will talk with the Government about the plan to index the fuel excise annually.

"The trucking industry believes in paying our fair share, but no more than our fair share. We will want to be sure that the indexation does not increase the charges on the industry above what we should be paying," he says.

The ATA has also welcomed the Federal Government's $70 million road safety plan, including promises of upgrades to roads and rest areas as well as an investigation of electronic logbooks.

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