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Rail industry must focus on service, not grandstanding

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23 August 2019

The rail industry must focus on improving its level of service and stop grandstanding about the productivity of the trucking industry, the Chair of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), Geoff Crouch, said today. 

The Australian Trucking Association and its member associations collectively represent the 50,000 business and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry. Together, we are committed to safety, professionalism and viability. 

As big business rail executives met this week at the Inland Rail conference, Mr Crouch said they should focus on improving rail’s level of service rather than complaining. 

“The Government’s own business case for inland rail shows it will not recover the net present value of its construction costs during the next 50 years,” Mr Crouch said. 

“And yet the rail industry has the hide to argue in the media – wrongly – that the trucking industry does not pay its way on the roads.

 “The National Transport Commission, an independent government body, has found that trucks are overcharged ‒ not undercharged ‒ for their use of the roads, with the projected over-recovery estimated at $189.5 million in 2018-19. 

“Trucks pay more than their fair share through a fuel-based road user charge and very high registration charges, and unlike rail, Australian trucking is dominated by small and family businesses.” 

Mr Crouch said that Pacific National’s director of corporate affairs was wrong when he said on the Nine Network that Australians wanted freight carried by rail, rather than by modern, safe and efficient trucks. 

“In the real world where Australians actually live, we’re worried about the rising cost of living. A recent independent report from Deloitte Access Economics shows that implementing more productive truck access on our roads would save a typical family $452 each year,” Mr Crouch said. 

“Rail doesn’t serve our local supermarkets, local farms or the majority of Australian businesses and consumers. 

“The trucking industry supports rail. We want rail to do well, and to do that it needs to focus on improving its own level of service and stop trying to hold back the productivity of our industry,” he said. 

View the Deloitte Access Economic report