NatRoad and ATA swipe at NSW ALP on stamp duty

State election issue from Labor emerges to rile industry

NatRoad and ATA swipe at NSW ALP on stamp duty
Ryan Park


New South Wales Labor (NSW ALP) has goaded the trucking industry on stamp duty and now the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has joined the fray.

The move follows Australian Trucking Association (ATA) intervention on the issue, with Labor Leader Michael Daley copping a spray from ATA councillor and Border Express director Jon Luff, and the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) having led the charge.

NSW Labor has announced a plan to increase stamp duties on vehicles costing more than $100,000. This would add an extra $9,000 to the cost of a $350,000 prime mover, with the stamp duty totalling $25,600. 

Compounding the disquiet, shadow treasurer Ryan Park issued a statement on Friday citing that farm vehicles such as harvesters and tractors would be exempt under the policy but the ATA notes "conspicuously did not exempt trucks". 

Increasing stamp duty on trucks in New South Wales would fly in the face of good policy and especially hurt small businesses, according to NatRoad.

"It would be a major policy change to place more stamp duty on new prime movers," NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says. 

"At present, new heavy trailers registered in NSW are exempt from paying stamp duty, a step that NatRoad supported and an indication of the direction that reform should take.

"Adding to the costs of road transport operators as part of an NSW ALP policy doesn’t make sense. Its impact on the heavy vehicle industry hasn’t been thought through.

"Getting rid of stamp duty would benefit thousands of small businesses: that’s the policy the new NSW government should pursue, not an increase in stamp duty. This is a tax on safety; it doesn’t make sense.

"Research shows that replacing taxes on insurance and motor vehicle registrations with a broad-based property tax could make Australians up to $1.5 billion a year better off.

"That is the direction of the required reform and something already recognised in New South Wales law. Why take a backward step?

"Stamp duty should be abolished as it is an inefficient tax and is out-of-step with a modern revenue system.  All major taxation inquiries, including the Henry Tax Review, have reached this conclusion.

"Heavy vehicles are already too expensive in this country and adding another 3% to their cost at the time of registration makes no sense, with the ALP proposal being for another $7 per $100 where trucks were sold for than $100,000.  

"Most operators are small businesses who just can’t afford to keep paying more and more for new trucks.

"If stamp duty is going to be maintained then surely the ALP if it is elected to Government should look at incentives to purchase newer, safer vehicles, as is currently the case with the NSW exemption for registration of new heavy trailers.  

"Heavy vehicle charges must be fair, transparent and be stamp duty free. There is just no rational case for increasing stamp duty on heavy vehicles."

Read the ALC’s statement of concern about the stamp duty pledge, here


Daley has since stated he is open to discussions with aggrieved parties over unintended consequences or unfairness but the conciliatory move following the surprise move seems yet to cut any ice.

Luff’s attack includes a safety, economic and environmental angles.

"Labor Leader Michael Daley has been unable to explain the tax, leaving the trucking industry in the dark," he says.

"In urban areas like Western Sydney, we need more new, cleaner trucks, not less

"New trucks must meet new, cleaner emission standards and are more fuel efficient. Compared to a truck purchased in 1996, a new truck purchased today emits 75 per cent less nitrogen oxide, 50 per cent less hydrocarbons and 92 per cent fewer particulates. 

Luff notes new trucks have the latest safety technologies. 

"The Australian Government is rolling out stability control as a mandated technology for a range of new trucks and trailers, and new vehicles regularly come equipped with additional safety technologies like lane assist and adaptive cruise control," he said. 

"The 16,000 hardworking trucking businesses in New South Wales deserve answers," Luff says. 

"Trucks are critical to the NSW economy and slapping taxes on trucks only makes it harder for businesses to compete in a global economy. 

"Ninety-seven per cent of trucking companies are small businesses, based in regional towns and places like Western Sydney. 

"Trucks are not a luxury. They are a necessity, relied upon by every single Australian."


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