Greens won't pursue $23k truck registration charges


Greens won't push for $23k rego fees despite Lee Rhiannon calling for new charges on trucking industry

Greens won't pursue $23k truck registration charges
Greens won't pursue $23k truck rego charges
By Brad Gardner | October 13, 2010

The Greens will not push for $23,000 registration fees for heavy vehicles despite calls from within the party for new charges to be imposed on the trucking industry.

Lee Rhiannon, who won a Senate seat at the federal election, wants B-double charges increased because she claims trucking operators are not paying enough.

During the election campaign, Rhiannon advocated for new fees and a $1.5 billion levy on the industry to cover flow-on costs such as air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

But while saying the party opposes the diesel rebate for trucking operators, the office of Greens spokeswoman on transport Christine Milne denied higher charges or a levy were part of the agenda.

"We have no plans to pursue this particular proposal at this stage," a spokesman for Milne says.

"On the diesel fuel rebate, our policy is that it be removed except for primary producers."

ATN has contacted Rhiannon for comment.

The news has been welcomed by the trucking lobby, which had vowed to campaign against any attempts to slug operators with a new round of charges after registration fees increased on July 1.

"The ATA welcomes the Greens’ decision to abandon their plan to increase B-double registration charges to more than $23,000," ATA Government Relations Manager Bill McKinley says.

"The Greens’ plan was based on the mistaken belief that B-double registrations are subsidised. In fact, B-doubles pay their way on the road system, as does the trucking industry as a whole."

However, McKinley says the ATA will fight to keep the diesel rebate which allows operators to claim back more than 15 cents a litre of the tax they pay on fuel.

He says it reduces the industry’s costs, which in turn reduces costs to consumers.

"The fuel tax credit system and its benefits for trucking operators are amongst the ATA’s greatest achievements. We will work tirelessly to defend them."

Annual registration fees for a nine-axle B-double hit $15,340 this year. Those operating eight-axle B-doubles are now required to pay $14,770 annually.

"Even considering the very latest B-double registration charges, it’s clear that current fees are lower than they should be and that the trucking industry is by no means paying its way," Rhiannon said during the campaign.

"With CPI increases, that fee should now sit on more than $23,000 but the actually fee charged is lower at $14,770."

Rhiannon says road pricing reform to shift freight from road to rail is long overdue. She says rail is more efficient and sustainable.

The Greens will hold the balance of power in the Senate from July 1 next year, meaning the Federal Government will need to negotiate with the party to pass legislation.


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