RTA investigates FIRS rego rorts

RTA says it is looking into companies rorting the FIRS scheme, amid claims the department is ignoring the problem

By Brad Gardner | April 23, 2010

The NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) has vowed to investigate truck registration rorts, amid accusations the department is ignoring the problem.

A spokesperson for the RTA says intrastate trucking operators illegally registering vehicles under the federal registration scheme (FIRS) are being looked at.

FIRS was brought in to provide uniform charges for companies working across borders. Those under FIRS do not pay a state’s stamp duty on vehicles.

"The RTA is working to resolve the issue of trucking operators registering their vehicles under the federal registration scheme (FIRS) when their vehicles only travel within NSW," the spokesperson says.

The owner of a NSW central west trucking company who declined to be named claims there are thousands of trucks working within NSW but operating under the federal scheme.

He says he has complained to the RTA repeatedly only to be told it is aware of the problem but it is too hard to police.

According to the industry veteran, companies are using the savings from not paying stamp duty to win contracts.

"I’ve been spewing for a year over this and it is really pissing me off," the trucking owner says.

"They are undercutting by the price of stamp duty to win the job."

The RTA spokesperson says it is working with other jurisdictions to establish a heavy vehicle regulator, which is due to come into force in 2013 to end cross-border inconsistencies.

The RTA spokesperson says the department is also pushing to ensure there are appropriate enforcement measures to take action against companies illegally using FIRS.

It is a good move, according to one industry observer.

"If there is a loophole being used by cowboys then that loophole will be definitively closed," he tells ATN.

The trucking owner says RTA enforcement officers know there are vehicles wrongly registered under FIRS because trucks with federal plates are using NSW weighbridges repeatedly each day.

He questions how an interstate vehicle would have time to go back and forth over the same weighbridge in a short amount of time.

"It’s totally wrong…Someone needs to get onto it," he says.

"The government is losing money and all these blokes are laughing."

The trucking owner has also contacted politicians but says they are not interested in resolving the problem.

"I may as well go talk to my missus over a bottle of wine," he says.

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