Operator faces court over FIRS misuse

South Australian operator's good deed may lead to hefty fine after it was accused of abusing FIRS

By Brad Gardner | June 3, 2010

A South Australian MP has called for leniency for a trucking operator that will face court accused of abusing the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme.

Chaffey MP Tim Whetstone has used parliamentary proceedings to defend the trucking company, which he did not name, for breaching registration laws by delivering local produce with FIRS trucks.

Whetstone says the company, which had two of its trucks busted on the Sturt Highway, was asked to deliver perishables from Adelaide to Renmark with only 45 minutes notice because of the sudden closure of the transport business that originally carted the goods.

Whetstone says most of the operator’s fleet is federally registered and the short notice given to it meant the company did not have enough time to secure a state-registered truck for the task.

"If it had been given more notice, I am assured that this company – which has been operating for more than 50 years in Australia – would have complied with the law."

"…I am told that the matter will soon be before the court and the company faces unknown fine. I think it would be appropriate for the company to be shown considerable leniency for acting as best it could in what was, essentially, an emergency situation."

Whetstone says the company did not want to let down the customer and felt it had an obligation to people in the Riverland region to deliver the goods.

Trucks registered under FIRS are prohibited from delivering goods within state borders. The scheme was set up for companies that operate interstate. Those under FIRS do not pay a state's stamp duty on vehicles.

The Roads and Traffic Authority in NSW has vowed to investigate companies absuing the FIRS scheme, amid accusations it is ignoring the problem.

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