Truck price hikes short sighted and counter-productive

By: Jason Whittaker


The decision by transport ministers to increase truck charges is short-sighted and counter-productive, according to one industry representative. South Australian Road

The decision by transport ministers to increase truck charges is short-sighted and counter-productive, according to one industry representative.

South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) Executive Director Steve Shearer says the decision is illogical in the face of growing freight volumes.

"Increasing B-double registration fees by 75 percent from $8,041 to $14,340 is mind-numbingly short-sighted," he says.

Shearer has hit out at the National Transport Commission (NTC) for claiming its proposals will put downward pressure on freight costs.

"The NTC's claim ... is an absolutely incredible piece of unadulterated, illogical nonsense that is breathtaking in its naivety and sadly typical of the work of so many desk-jockey economists whose world exists entirely within computer models that they develop about their theories on the way the real world should work," he says.

"We have to deal with how the real world does work and so does the public who will now have to share the road with one-third more trucks than is necessary."

Shearer says the increased revenue will not be returned to road upgrades where it is collected.

"So obviously the improvements that the NTC claims will result in downward pressure on freight rates will not happen and neither will the mythical reduction in freight rates," he says.

"They are now headed in one direction; only up."

Shearer says supermarkets will raise their prices but make it almost impossible for truck operators to recover the increases charges from them.

"Transport ministers will be personally responsible for this inevitability for the serious damage these ill-considered increased charges will do to Australia's exports and the economy," he says.

"We will also hold them fully accountable for their inevitable failure to return all the collected funds to the road system and not drop it into the black hole of consolidated revenue."

IMPACT OF HIGHER CHARGES IGNORED
Peter Garske from the Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) says ministers have ignored the views of the trucking industry and the impact of higher charges.

"Trucking operators currently manage the freight task on limited profit margins and are not in a position to absorb additional costs," he says.

"Customers will feel the impact of increased freight charges and accordingly consumers will feel the impact through the increase costs of consumables such as food products, white goods and building materials."

Garske has welcomed the decision to delay the fuel excise increase until January.

"This will assist operators in negotiating with their customers the impact of the increase," he says.

He also welcomes a $170 million Federal Government pledge for road and rest area upgrades.

"Our negotiations with the Queensland Minister John Mickel have indicated that he is prepared to discuss the allocation of increased revenue in Queensland, approximately $23 million per annum, to productivity and efficiency measures" Garske says.

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