Registration fees and road user charge to rise from July 1


Rego fees to rise from July 1, as Rudd Government pushes for increase in road user charge at same time

Registration fees and road user charge to rise from July 1
Rego fees and road user charge to rise
By Brad Gardner

Trucking operators will be slugged with higher registration fees from July 1, as the National Transport Commission (NTC) pushes for an increase in the road user charge at the same time.

The NTC says the the charge should climb by 3.2 percent, claiming it is justified on the basis of increased government expenditure on the road network.

The rise is intended to coincide with an annual increase to registration fees, which will force B-double operators to pay close to an extra $3,000. Semi-trailer fees will jump $240, from $5,070 last financial year to $5,310 this year.

If the NTC's proposal is accepted, the fuel tax credit will fall from 17.1 cents per litre to 16.4 cents per litre.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese has written to the NTC, asking it to consult industry stakeholders on the proposed increase and then report back to him.

In its consultation paper released today, the NTC says the increases will deliver key benefits for trucking operators.

"Revenue recovered through heavy vehicle charges contributes to building better and safer roads for improved higher productivity vehicle access," the government body says.

According to the NTC, "there has been a substantial increase in arterial road expenditure" at a federal, state and territory level to improve roads and bridges.

However, it claims local governments have not increased their investment in their respective road networks.

"Local government road expenditure data has remained flat in real terms," the NTC says.

The changes in registration fees stem from the 2007 agreement to annually adjust charges. B-doubles were significantly affected due to claims larger vehicles were not paying "their fair share of road infrastructure costs".

The Australian Transport Council last year adopted the 2007 Heavy Vehicle Charges Determination, while the Government amended the Fuel Tax Act to give it the power to adjust the road user charge.

The Government tried to gain the power to index the charge but backed down after the Senate refused to support the measure.

As part of the amendments made to the Act, Albanese must give 60 days notice of an intention to raise the charge and publicly release relevant documents justifying his decision.

"In addition, the amended legislation requires that I consider any comments received from the public in relation to the proposed increase," Albanese wrote in his letter to the NTC.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) is supporting the increase in registration charges, and has already held "very good discussions" with the NTC on the road user charge proposal.

"The increase is needed because governments are spending more on roads, and we pay our fair share as an industry," Martyn told delegates during his speech at the ATA Trucking Convention today.

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