FIRS rego savings

Federal Parliament has passed legislation to save more than a thousand trucking operators from being overcharged on registration fees.

This applies to trucking operators registered under the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS) with registrations expiring in July, August or September 2010.

As a result of a technical legal issue, these operators would have had to pay an extra 9.7 per cent in registration charges on top of a phased in rise for longer truck combinations, instead of the 4.2 per cent increase agreed by Australia’s transport ministers.

The owner of a FIRS registered B-double would have had to pay $16,148 in registration charges instead of $15,340 – a difference of $808. The owner of a FIRS registered prime mover and semitrailer would have been overcharged by $295.

FIRS operators with registrations due after September 2010 would have been charged the correct amount.

Chief Executive of the Australian Trucking Association, Stuart St Clair, thanked the Transport and Infrastructure Minister, Anthony Albanese, for introducing the legislation and pushing it through Parliament.

“The Government recognised that the legislation needed to be a priority to make sure the affected firms were treated fairly,” Mr St Clair said. “I would also like to thank the Shadow Minister for Transport, Warren Truss and his staff, as well as the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Chris Evans. His staff went out of their way to make sure the legislation was scheduled for debate in the Senate this week.

“For our part, the ATA provided MPs and Senators with compelling and timely information showing why the legislation needed to be passed urgently.

“The ATA originally urged governments not to increase truck charges on top of the rise for longer combinations. But it would clearly have been absurd for some FIRS operators to be charged an extra 9.7 per cent, while other FIRS operators and the owners of state registered trucks were only charged an extra 4.2 per cent,” he said.

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