Heavy vehicle charging discussed at industry roundtable

ALRTA says competition and consumer watchdog best fit for regulatory role in case of a complex charge allocation system


Several industry associations discussed the subject of heavy vehicle charging with urban infrastructure minister Paul Fletcher this week.

Representatives from the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA), Australian Trucking Association (ATA), Australian Logistics Council (ALC), National Road Transport Association (NatRoad), National Farmers Federation (NFF) and the Minerals Council of Australia participated in the discussion in Canberra.

The consultation follows the release of government’s discussion paper on options for independent price regulation of heavy vehicle charges. 

The peak livestock transporters body says it strongly supports independent price regulation in the heavy vehicle sector.

"The main problem with the current charging system is that ministers do not need to accept the recommendations put forward by the NTC," an ALRTA notice states.

"This has resulted in close to $1bn of overcharging.

"However, the entity that is most appropriate for making the charging determinations will largely depend on what type of system is adopted."

ALRTA states that it may be appropriate for the National Transport Commission (NTC) to continue its current role if the industry stuck with a pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) type of cost recovery system, "but it [NTC] would make binding determinations rather than recommendations".

However, if the industry looked for a complete economic reform and complex charge allocation system (e.g. mass, distance, location), then it would be prudent for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to make determinations, ALRTA suggests.

It would in line with ACCC’s role for other network assets such as gas, electricity and water.

The discussion also focused on other topics such as transitional arrangements, merits review and national consistency in charges.

"The roundtable was a good opportunity to candidly explore the proposed options and gauge government perspectives around how far heavy vehicle charging reform will ultimately go," the ARLTA states.

It will consult with its members while developing a submission for the government.

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