ATA calls for reduced road user charge in 2016-17 budget
The industry body asks the government to set up an independent economic regulator for road prices
The Australian Trucking Association is asking the Federal Government to cut down the road user charge on trucking operations in its 2016-17 Budget.
In its pre-budget recommendations submission to the government, the ATA states that reducing the road user charge would ideally save a typical owner-driver about $200 in 2016-17, and would save a typical small fleet operator about $1,100.
The ATA recommends that the government should review its existing spending to accommodate a road pricing reform that includes a new defined service standard and an independent economic regulator for road prices.
"The trucking industry pays for our use of the road system through heavy vehicle registration fees and a road user charge on fuel, currently 26.14 cents per litre," ATA CEO Christopher Melham says.
"The industry has been overcharged since 2007, because the system used to calculate the charges underestimates the number of trucks on the roads."
The governments agreed to freeze their revenue from heavy vehicle charges in response to this issue last year, however, truck and bus operators will still be overtaxed about $250.2 million in 2016-17 and $264.8 million in 2017-18, Melham says.
"Our submission recommends that the government should address its share of the overcharging by reducing the road user charge to 25.9 cents per litre in 2016-17 and 25.3 cents per litre in 2017-18.
"The government should then address the rest of its overcharging by increasing its funding for the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program and the Bridges Renewal Program by $49.0 million in 2016-17 and $52.1 million in 2017-18," he says.
"There would, as a result, be more truck rest areas and a more productive road system."
Emphasising the need for an independent economic regulator, the ATA says that setting up an access and pricing regulator, as suggested in last years’ Harper Competition Review, will ensure that the pricing decisions cannot be ignored in the future.