NTC will act sooner on next round of road charges

NTC commissioner plans to announce increases to road charges by January next year to give operators time to adjust

By Brad Gardner | September 27

The government body responsible for recommending increases to registration charges is planning to finalise the process by January next year to give trucking operators time to adjust.

National Transport Commission (NTC) Commissioner Greg Martin has responded to criticisms over previous round of recommendations, which was not finalised until March this year.

The delay meant governments did not make a decision on a 4.2 percent increase until late April, giving trucking companies little time to adjust rates before the new financial year.

"We will, I think, in January provide advice to ministers about what the escalation in the registration fees should be so that gives not only registration authorities but also people in industry earlier notice when those registration charges are going to increase," Martin says.

"If you have contracts of work and you’ve set your rates and all of a sudden registration charges escalate and you get late notice in the financial year then that causes you an embarrassment. We understand that."

Martin says late notice also causes embarrassment for licensing and registration agencies that need to send renewal notices.

By finalising the recommendations in January, Martin hopes governments will be given enough time to impose the increases uniformly.

Trucking associations were highly critical of the charging process earlier this year and called for delays in the implementation on the basis operators would not have enough time to factor them into their budgets.

The Australian Trucking Association was also critical of a lack of transparency.

"There was an issue over the last year where a couple of jurisdictions were reluctant to allow us to expose the maths because they didn’t want, for whatever reason they had, they didn’t want that disclosed," Martin says.

"I think that problem’s been overcome."

The ATA claimed trucking operators would be overcharged if governments accepted the 4.2 percent increase, which sent the cost of B-double registration from $12,214 to $15,340.

According to the NTC, increases were justified due to a 10.7 percent increase in government expenditure on road infrastructure during the 2008-2009 financial year.

It says the investment improved B-double access, reduced wear and tear on vehicles, alleviated congestion and shortened trip times.

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