ATA, WRF talk road user charges

Oversize, Overmass permit inquiry and monthly vehicle registration on agenda for meeting with WA minister

ATA, WRF talk road user charges
Western Road Federation chair Craig Smith-Gander and Australian Trucking Association chair Geoff Crouch meet with WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti in Perth. Image courtesy Ben Maguire.


Local government road user charges and an inquiry into the oversize overmass (OSOM) permit system are high on the agenda for the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and Western Roads Federation (WRF), after the two groups met with WA officials earlier this week.

ATA Chair Geoff Crouch and CEO Ben Maguire joined WRF chair Craig Smith-Gander and CEO Cam Dumesny in campaigning for the changes when they met with WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti at the ATA board meeting held in Western Australia earlier this week.

The ATA also named two new members of its board at the meeting, held on Monday. Read our story here.

Smith-Gander says an independent review into the process for issuing OSOM permits is becoming more and more necessary, saying operators spent a total of 4.5 million days per year waiting on approvals.

"The problem is most acute in the interstate oversize/overmass sector, where businesses are in crisis because of the long delays involved in getting permits and police escorts," he said.

The two groups also requested that Saffioti act on local government user charges, with Smith-Gander saying any solution should be led by the state government, to ensure consistency with other road market reform agendas.

A growing number of local governments in WA are attempting to impose their own local heavy road user charges many of which do not reflect the impact of those trucks on the local road system, he says.

Crouch also said he had raised the issue of allowing monthly vehicle registration payments by direct debit or credit card – a move he said would make life easier for fleet operators, who in most states must pay for registration on a three, six or 12 month basis.

"A monthly registration option would smooth the cashflow of trucking businesses, including Western Australia’s 3,000 owner drivers," he says.

"The main obstacle to introducing monthly payments has always been the tedious task of sending out and replacing registration labels, but Western Australia abolished these in 2016."  

Under legal changes, trucking operators in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Captial Territory will no longer be required to display registration labels from July 1, while Victorian drivers can go label-free from October 1. 

From then, only the Northern Territory will require truck registration labels, due to its remote conditions

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