We're being fleeced: VTA vows no support for charges

VTA writes to transport minister urging him to not accept new registration and fuel excise charges

April 27, 2010

Victoria’s trucking lobby has written to the state’s transport minister asking him not to support higher truck charges, claiming bureaucrats are trying to take "all they can get from the industry".

Reiterating comments from the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), the Chief Executive of the Victorian Transport Association (VTA), Phil Lovel, fears the industry will be ripped off if registration fees and the fuel excise increase from July 1.

In his letter to Victorian Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas, Lovel has asked he not accept the recommendations from the National Transport Commission (NTC) to increase costs when the nation’s transport ministers meet on April 30 to make a decision.

The ATA last week argued a proposed 4.2 percent addition to the excise and registration fees would strip an extra $776.3 million from the industry.

"The transport industry is paying its way, we always have and we always will, but this is not about cost recovery anymore, this about taking all they can get from the industry," a fuming Lovel says.

The NTC argues the 4.2 percent rise is necessary based on a 10.7 percent increase in government expenditure on the road network.

Lovel has also criticised the process used to determine if higher charges are justified because the industry is denied access to some government expenditure figures and the calculation formula used by the NTC.

"Without this data, the industry has no assurance that over recovery is not occurring," Lovel says.

The NTC was forced to alter its calculation formula this year because it originally recommended raising charges by 9.7 percent.

The system is based on averages, which the ATA says does not account for changes in the mix of heavy vehicles.

If passed, the NTC’s proposal will push the cost of registering a B-double to $15,340 a year and cut the diesel rebate by almost one cent. The cost of registering a semi-trailer will go from $5310 to $5612.

Registration charges will rise regardless of the 4.2 percent increase due to the final year of a three-year phase-in of higher chargers for some trucks due to under-recovery from past government expenditure.

The increases are also due to end subsidisation of larger combinations by smaller trucks.

The cost of registering a B-double will rise from $12,214 to $14,746 without the extra 4.2 percent.

The VTA claims the cost to register a B-double in the 2010-2011 financial year will have risen by 58 percent since 2008 without the extra 4.2 percent.

Registration costs will have risen by more than 64 percent since 2008 if the NTC’s proposal is accepted, the representative group says.

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