New industry blast on farmer vehicle concession abuse


LBRCA makes public continuing objections to misuse of NSW vehicle concessions

New industry blast on farmer vehicle concession abuse
Lynley Miners says enough is enough

 

Rural haulage operators are again expressing deep frustration at farmers overstepping the mark on New South Wales primary producer vehicle concession use.

The Livestock, Bulk and Rural Carriers Association (LBRCA) has warned its secretariat has received a numbers of calls from member complaining the concessions are being used for purposes other than for which they are intended. 

The main point of concern is that these subsidised producers are affecting the viability of rural carriers. 

"The issue appears to be more prevalent during the annual grain harvest where commercially operated trucks exploiting the primary producer concession enter the market and compete against professional rural carriers who do not have this advantage," LBRCA president Lynley Miners says.

"Unfortunately, one unintended consequence is that rural carriers who fully pay their way under the current road-funding scheme suffer a cost disadvantage compared to those misusing the concession."

"It might seem a small price difference to those not involved in the industry, but in a competitive marketplace this illegitimate cost advantage has a huge impact."

"It is particularly frustrating for rural carriers to know that operators in their local area are misusing primary producer concessions, only be to be informed, it can't be proved," Miners states.

"We are fully supportive of the principles of a primary producer concession, however we cannot sit and watch the ongoing misuse continue."

The LBRCA says there are two key steps offering a "sensible measured way of limiting unfair competition and restoring state revenue" that is meant to recover the costs of road use.  

These include:

  • introducing primary producer registration plates for those claiming the primary producer concession, so that trucks operating under the concession can be easily identified – as in Victoria
  • imposing strict liability for carriers who misuse their primary producer concession.

"The LBRCA has alluded government to a simple strategy – the introduction of clearly identifiable primary producer plates – that will provide clear recognition of primary producer vehicles, simplify enforcement and close the gap on non-compliant activity," Miners says. 

"We are hopeful that our industry can finally reduce inequitable situations such as what we have with primary producer concessions."

The LBRCA notes the issue is not new to its members, having discussed possible solutions with various governments and representatives for more than five years, to no avail. 

"We often hear that real change takes time, however we here at the LBRCA believe that five years is simply too long to enact real solutions to a well-known problem," it says.

"We are now going back to NSW roads minister Melinda Pavey and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) in another effort to resolve the issue and push for a level playing field."

 

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