NatRoad outlines eight Budget points to government


Small business and freight efficiency key pillars of priorities submission

NatRoad outlines eight Budget points to government
NatRoad's pre-Budget submission with Treasury gives eight recommendations

 

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has lodged a pre-Budget submission with Treasury, outlining measures which it says focus on promoting small business and reducing road freight inefficiencies.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says with the 2019-2020 Budget due to on April 2, the federal government must give priority to small business, "the engine room of the Australian economy", which comprises the majority of transport operators.

"The Government announcement that the threshold for the small business instant asset write-off has been increased to $25,000 is a very good start to assisting our sector," Clark says.

"The NatRoad submission sets out eight policy priorities that should underpin the advancement of the road transport industry."

These include:

  • Provision be made in the Budget for funding the restructured arrangements for road safety responsibilities that will arise from the current review of road safety governance
  • Monies be allocated for the establishment of an independent statutory body that would be charged with collecting, analysing and disseminating freight-related data at a national level
  • Funding conditions for the Roads to Recovery program should mandate that at least 50 per cent of all money allocated to a council must be spent on projects devoted to road safety. This could include maintenance for safety purposes and works to improve safe access for heavy vehicles
  • Treasury initiate cost estimates and appropriate modelling for the establishment of an independent price regulator for the heavy vehicle industry. Alternatively, additional funding should be allocated to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to undertake the role of the independent price regulator in the context of Heavy Vehicle Road Reform
  • Funding for the upgrade and repair of bridges should require an up-to-date and well formulated asset management plan as a condition of funding
  • The Government should deem any payment term related to a small business standard form contract that requires payment beyond a minimum of 30 days as unfair and proscribed
  • The Government’s review into fuel stocks be fast tracked as should returning Australia to holding 90 days’ worth of oil stocks. Any infrastructure development and maintenance should be fully funded to achieve this aim
  • The Government acknowledges the heavy vehicle driver shortage and provides financial assistance and incentives for young people to become skilled heavy vehicle drivers

NatRoad also backs calls for rest area focus. Read more here


"One critical element should be given immediate attention. There has been a lot of talk about moving the heavy vehicle industry to a user pays model," Clark says.

"The ultimate aim of heavy vehicle road reform is to change the provision of heavy vehicle road infrastructure into an economic service.

"This would see a market established that links heavy vehicle user needs with the level of service they receive, the charges they pay and the investment of those charges back into heavy vehicle road services.

"But this cannot occur without an appropriate agency guiding the process. 

"NatRoad wants Treasury to make cost estimates and appropriate modelling for the establishment of an independent price regulator for the heavy vehicle industry. 

"Alternatively, additional funding should be allocated to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to undertake the role of the independent price regulator for Heavy Vehicle Road Reform."

"We make the point that an independent pricing regulator should possess a broad regulatory role including regulating and monitoring toll fees and landside port charges, given the current lack of transparency and fairness in setting tolls and landside port charges for heavy vehicles. 

"There are many elements of the system that need scrutiny by an independent regulator."

An emphasis on the industry’s human resource’s needs is also a vital component of industry reform and improvement, Clark adds. 

"NatRoad wants Government to acknowledge the heavy vehicle driver shortage and provide financial incentives for young people to become skilled heavy vehicle drivers.

"NatRoad has commenced a project designed to address current and future driver shortages.

"The strategy includes promoting heavy vehicle operation as a viable career choice and assisting businesses to engage and retain staff. 

"By developing a recognised industry trade, it is intended to create a clearer career path for drivers, attract school leavers to the road transport industry and improve the image of truck driving in the community.

"2019 is proving to be a watershed year for the industry with political and economic forces likely to bring about deep-seated change. 

"Where possible Government needs to act so that the transport industry, as a pivotal economic driver, can generate positive multiplier effects such as better accessibility to markets and additional investment. Adopting NatRoad’s suggestions will assist this aim."

The full document can be found here.

 

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