FIRS and ACT operator registration charges to rise in July

By: Jason Whittaker


Registration costs will continue to be indexed annually for Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS) and ACT trucking operators unless the

Registration costs will continue to be indexed annually for Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS) and ACT trucking operators unless the Federal Government can pass its higher charges bills through the Senate.

From July 1 this year, the annual indexation will increase by 2.3 percent due to the federal Opposition using its Senate majority to hold up the Interstate Road Transport Charge Amendment Bill and the Road Transport Charges (Australian Capital Territory) Repeal Bill.

Those states and territories that implement the higher registration charges developed by the National Transport Commission (NTC) will no longer face indexed charges because the Model Heavy Vehicle Charges Act 2007 will supersede the Road Transport Charges Act 1993, which introduced annual adjustment.

The NTC estimates the 2.3 percent increase will affect more than 10,000 trucking operators, with about 8,900 interstate trucks registered under FIRS and 2,300 heavy vehicles registered in the ACT.

It is uncertain how long the indexation will remain place because the future of the bills will be decided by other parties. While the Liberal majority ends on July 1 when the new Senate is sworn in, the Government will need to then gain the favour of the Greens, Family First and Independent Nick Xenophon to pass legislation.

However, the Opposition believes the bills will continue to remain in limbo because Family First Senator Steve Fielding will not support any bills which have the potential to increase grocery prices.

"They (Labor) are not going to have any problems with the Greens, but they may have a problem with the Family First guy who is into lower charges," a spokesman for Warren Truss, the Opposition spokesman on transport, says.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has long argued the increased charges will push up running costs which will then be passed on to consumers.

During its February 29 meeting, the ATC agreed to raise registration charges to recoup the cost of government expenditure from road projects.

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