Australia’s trucking operators have unanimously and emphatically rejected a proposal to dramatically increase the truck fuel tax and registration charges.
The trucking industry reached the decision at the meeting of the Australian Trucking Association General Council today, ahead of a transport ministers’ meeting on Friday.
At the meeting, ministers will consider increasing the truck fuel tax and registration charges by 11.8 per cent over three years – equivalent to a 3 cent per litre increase in fuel tax and a $734 increase in registration charges for a prime mover and semi-trailer.
ATA Chair Geoff Crouch said that any increase in taxes and charges would have a devastating effect on the small and family businesses that make up the vast majority of the industry.
“The trucking industry already pays too much for our use of the roads, as the independent government agency that advises on these charges has conceded.
“For example, the projected over-recovery for 2018-19 was $189.5 million –money that trucking operators should have been able to use to employ more staff and buy new equipment.
“Our members would be trying to recover these extra taxes and charges from their customers at a time when rural and regional Australia is suffering from an extreme drought, and urban trucking operators are struggling to deal with governments’ failure to regulate toll road and port access charges.
“That’s why the trucking industry is calling on transport ministers to reject the proposed increase.
“Ridiculously, officials have told us that we will be consulted about the increase after the meeting. There’s no point in holding consultations after a decision is made, so we are working flat out to get the right result for industry now,” he said.
The ATA and its member associations collectively represent the 50,000 business and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry. Together, the ATA and its members are committed to safety, professionalism and viability.
The resolution is below.
HEAVY VEHICLE CHARGES
That the ATA General Council—
1. Reminds governments that the existing heavy vehicle charging system has long overcharged trucking businesses, with the National Transport Commission projecting a $189.5 million over-recovery of charges for 2018-19.
2. Reminds governments that large areas of Australia are in drought conditions and that rural and regional Australia is reliant on cost effective road freight transport.
3. Reminds governments that urban road freight transport operators have experienced very large increases in toll road and port access charges, without any effective regulatory response.
4. Affirms its previous position that trucking operators should not be overcharged.
5. Notes with extreme concern that transport ministers are set to consider a proposal that would increase heavy vehicle charges by a further 11.8 per cent over three years.
6. Notes that there has been no consultation with industry about the proposal – which is totally unacceptable – and that any consultation they hold after the meeting is against the principles of fair and due process.
7. Warns that the vast majority of trucking businesses are small and family businesses and do not have the capacity to pass on fuel tax and registration charge increases.
8. Calls on transport ministers to emphatically reject the proposed increase.
Moved: Denis Robertson
Seconded: David Smith
CARRIED BY ACCLAMATION