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Primary producer truck rego changes in NSW

NatRoad hails state reforms as blow for fairness


New South Wales amendments to laws governing the Primary Producer Vehicle Registration Scheme look set to change what are seen as a rort harming rural trucking while cashing up the undeserving.

Penalties will rise from $2,200 to $11,000 for corporations that attempt to register a vehicle by making a false statement.

The Road Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2021, introduced by state regional transport and roads minister Paul Toole, proposes amendments to the Road Transport Act 2013 and the Motor Vehicles Taxation Act 1988.

“The increase is necessary as the value of the primary producer concession can be almost $10,000 for a heavy vehicle, creating a large financial incentive for ineligible customers to seek to exploit the concession”, Tool says in his second reading speech.

“A new offence with equivalent penalties will also be created for falsely claiming a registration concession.”

Amongst other things, such as removing “inconsistencies and red tape to better serve the needs of New South Wales farmers”, the changes aim to “rectify a longstanding legislative anomaly caused by a drafting error which incorrectly applies a monetary cap on heavy vehicle primary producer registration charges”.

“The objective of the amendments is not designed to reduce the number of eligible primary producers; rather, it is to ensure that genuine primary producers receive the concession while preventing exploitation or gaming of the concession, which could give some road transport operators an unfair business advantage over others,” Toole tells NSW Parliament.

He adds that: “The current requirement that primary producer vehicles cannot be used for let or hire will remain in place to maintain a level playing field, so as not to disadvantage road transport companies that are not entitled to receive the primary producer concession.

“Penalties for breaching such a condition, including registration suspension, currently exist under road transport law.”

The amendments will provide a single point of reference for all heavy vehicle registration charges and consolidate the minister’s exemption powers within the Road Transport Act by removing duplicative provisions in the Motor Vehicles Taxation Act.

Read how primary producer truck registration is a Queensland concern, here

National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) CEO Warren Clark says the changes should ensure a level playing field for road transport operators.

“These changes are all about making sure primary producer vehicle registration concessions benefit genuine primary producers, and regional transport and roads minister Paul Toole deserves a wrap,” Clark adds.

“The government says large transport companies with token involvement in primary production are currently claiming the concession for entire fleets of vehicles.

“That loophole is being closed and this is a win for the small owner-operator who derives 50 per cent or more of their income from primary production.”

Clark notes that a long-standing legislative anomaly that had incorrectly applied a monetary cap on heavy vehicle primary producer registration charges is also being removed.

As Toole explains, when introduced in 1998, the policy intent was for the cap to only apply to primary producer light vehicle charges so that the motor vehicle tax for these vehicles would not be greater than the national registration charge for a heavy vehicle – more than 4.5 tonnes.

“It was intended that the monetary cap was not to apply when calculating the registration charge concession for primary producer heavy vehicles,” he says.

“That means whichever is less of either the uncapped tax or the registration charge will apply.

“However, as currently drafted this cap would provide a disproportionately larger concession for primary producer heavy vehicles and that outcome would be out of step with the administration of other registration concessions.

“The amendments will also strengthen the customer enrolment framework to ensure that primary producer vehicle registration concessions benefit genuine farmers.

“This will be achieved through the introduction of an income threshold that will require confirmation that at least 50 per cent of total income is earned from primary production activities in normal seasonal circumstances.”

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