Get stuffed, Victoria says, we're raising charges

Victoria announces itself as the first state to support a new wave of registration and fuel charges despite concerns operators will be ripped off

Get stuffed, Victoria says, we're raising charges
Get stuffed, Victoria says, we're raising charges
By Samantha Freestone | April 28, 2010

The Victorian Government will support a new wave of registration and fuel charges, ignoring claims trucking operators will be ripped off.

A spokesman for Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas today confirmed the Government will agree to a 4.2 percent rise to registration charges and the fuel excise from July 1 proposed by the National Transport Commission (NTC).

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) only yesterday wrote to Pallas asking him to reject the NTC’s proposal on the basis it will overcharge the industry by $776.3 million.

Pallas has scoffed at the claim.

"The 4.2 percent does reflect the substantial increase in expenditure on road infrastructure," the spokesman says.

The NTC says there has been a 10.7 percent rise in government expenditure on the road network last financial year. The NTC had to adjust its proposal because its calculation method originally proposed a 9.7 percent increase.

"Victoria is leading the way to reduce the impact of the heavy vehicle charges on industry. This is why the Government will be supporting the proposed increase of 4.2 per cent on Friday," the spokesman says.

All transport ministers will meet this Friday to decide whether to support the rise, which will cut almost one cent from the diesel rebate and push up the registration cost of a B-double to $15,340.

But despite the NTC recommending against the 9.7 percent rise, Pallas has not ruled out introducing it.

"If a decision is not reached at the ATC on Friday then a 9.7 percent increase will apply automatically," the spokesman says.

He says the Government will work with operators to ensure they are given time to factor the adjustment into their budgets.

VTA Chief Executive Phil Lovell yesterday urged Pallas not to support the charges, fearing what might happen if he did.

"It is vital for all levels of Government to stop using the transport industry as a revenue source without proper justification. If these increases go ahead, it could send some companies broke," Lovel says.

"These sort of increases put a real financial burden on transport operators who are already under the pump to deliver goods at cheaper than ever prices."

Lovel also criticised the timing of the adjustment, which was announced last month. He says the industry needs to be given enough time to factor the costs into their operating budgets.

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