Subsidies needed to keep A-trailers viable: ATA


ATA calls for new charges on a range of heavy vehicle trailers to subsidise a cut in A-trailer registration fees

Subsidies needed to keep A-trailers viable: ATA
Subsidies needed to keep A-trailers viable: ATA
By Brad Gardner | August 8, 2011

Governments should increase existing charges on a range of heavy vehicle trailers to subsidise a drastic reduction in A-trailer registration fees, the trucking lobby says.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) is asking the National Transport Commission (NTC) to "seriously consider" championing a return to a subsidised heavy vehicle registration model to alleviate cost pressures on operators using A-trailers.

The group has written to the NTC recommending owners of pig, dog, semi, converter dolly and low loader dolly trailers fund the cost of reducing A-trailer registration fees by $4,242.

Under the ATA’s proposal, those operating tandem axle trailers will pay an extra $106, with the price rising to $159 for tri-axle units and $212 for quad axle and above.

The existing A-trailer charges will plummet from $6,525 to $2,283, in turn dropping the cost of getting a nine-axle B-double on the road from $15,708 to $10,602.

The ATA made the proposal as part of its involvement in a working group set up to develop solutions to high A-trailer fees, which have ballooned in recent years on the back of a 2007 governmental agreement to remove B-double subsidies.

According to the ATA, its scheme will deliver the same amount of revenue to government coffers while ensuring operators can afford to register B-doubles.

It claims the existing charges will stunt productivity because operators will begin switching from B-doubles to the much cheaper combinations to save money.

"Most will be forced to either not renew A-trailer registration, or substitute to other, less productive combinations," the ATA writes in its submission.

"This high charge on A-trailers has adverse flow on effects into other longer, safer combinations such as B-triples, AB triples, BAB-quads and AB-quads."

The ATA says B-doubles improve road safety and productivity and by reducing the number of trucks needed per load.

"One cannot argue with the facts that B-doubles are the safest combination, do the less damage to the infrastructure and therefore should not be penalised for its successes," it says.

Along with the likes of the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA), the ATA has been campaigning for months to convince governments to tinker with registration charges.

The ALRTA says the fees are particularly hard on regional operators because they only use the trailers sporadically. It has called for a number of measures to be considered, including low mileage discounts, seasonal registration and specialised classifications for particular combinations.

In the first meeting of the working group last month, the industry also raised concerns that the high cost of A-trailers hindered their resale value. The group will meet again this month and the NTC will submit recommendations to transport ministers in November.




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