Albanese needs to come clean on tachographs: Truss


Coalition raises concerns the Rudd Government will impose tachographs on the trucking industry without first trialling them

By Brad Gardner

The Coalition has raised concerns the Rudd Government will attempt to foist mandatory tachographs on the trucking industry without first trialling them.

Opposition spokesman on transport and infrastructure Warren Truss questioned the Government's intentions while pledging support for the Auslink (National Land Transport) Amendment Bill last week.

The Bill will change the definition of road in the Auslink Act to include rest areas and weigh stations, with funds for such projects coming from the Government's $70 million Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity plan.

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Anthony Albanese says the package will also fund tachograph trials.

However, Truss says Albanese failed to confirm this when speaking about the Bill in parliament.

"The second reading speech makes no mention that this initiative is to be a trial," Truss says.

"I would be grateful if the minister...could reassure me that the funding package is, as he stated in February, for a trial only."

Furthermore, Truss says he is "puzzled" by Albanese's claim the amendment is necessary to fund tachographs because the current wording of the Auslink Act already permits electronic monitoring initiatives.

Despite these concerns, Truss says the Coalition will not oppose the Auslink (National Land Transport) Amendment Bill because it will also extend the Roads to Recovery program to June 2014.

"Roads to Recovery is needed because the states have failed to provide adequate funds to local councils to meet their infrastructure requirements, and their own revenue raising capabilities are constrained," Truss says.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) says it "seems certain" the Bill will pass now the Opposition has pledged support.

The Government needs the support of the Coalition or a combination of the Greens, Independent Nick Xenophon and Family First's Steve Fielding to pass bills in the Senate.

However, any funding under the $70 million package is contingent on the Senate passing greater registration charges for ACT heavy vehicles.

Before losing its majority, the Coalition used its numbers to block the charges, which aim to significantly increase registration for B-doubles.

The Australian Transport Council (ATC) agreed in February this year to increase registration charges, which took effect in all states and territories except the ACT on July 1.

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