Very dark clouds hovering over trucking industry: Truss

By: Jason Whittaker

Opposition spokesman on transport Warren Truss has hit out at the Rudd Government’s approach to the trucking industry, arguing it

Opposition spokesman on transport Warren Truss has hit out at the Rudd Government’s approach to the trucking industry, arguing it will have adverse consequences.

Speaking during the Australian Trucking Convention, Truss defended the Coalition’s decision to block bills in the Senate that would result in an increase in the fuel excise and higher registration charges in the Australian Capital Territory.

While he says the Coalition believes the industry needs to pay its way, he says the registration charges will punish higher-productivity vehicles and will push up inflation.

Truss also criticised a provision in the registration and fuel excise proposals which may restrict the Federal Government’s ability to dissent from decision made by the Australian Transport Council (ATC).

"The Commonwealth would be unable to determine, in its own right, the charges that should apply to commonwealth-registered vehicles," Truss says.

"The Nationals and the Liberals in the Coalition do not agree with the transport minister’s approach."

He says this is because the industry will not benefit from increased charges because Labor states will merely horde the revenue. He points to this as one of many "very dark clouds" hovering over the industry.

"Some here today may believe that this extra revenue to Labor governments will flow back to your industry through and improvement in transport infrastructure. "I ask you, when has that ever happened before? The answer is never," Truss says.

According to Truss, state governments will receive a $168 million increase in revenue upon passage of higher registration charges.

During his speech, Truss refuted claims by Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Anthony Albanese the late Howard Government supported increased the new registration charges, which will take effect on July 1.

Truss says the Coalition did not support the charges because of uncertainty over the calculations.

The National Transport Commission (NTC) argued governments under-recovered when it came to charging the industry for road expenditure while the industry’s calculations showed governments were already recovering more than they were spending.

"It’s my job to point out Labor’s transport flaws, but some very dark clouds are hovering and some of these matters of concern are already on the public record," Truss says.

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