Industry calls for moratorium on road user charge

Road user charge.

The National Road Transport Association has issued a statement in support of broader industry calls for a freeze on heavy vehicle charges in 2023-24.

It’s part of a response, lodged by NatRoad yesterday, to the National Transport Commission’s (NTC) consultation paper and it aligns with the Australian Trucking Association (ATA).

“We are both asking for a freeze on charges next year and for increases in the two financial years after that to be limited to 2.75 per cent,” said NatRoad CEO Warren Clark.

“We also agree with the ATA’s call for a lower remote area road user charge set at half the national road user charge rate.”

Clark said continuing high fuel costs is just one of the burdens that trucking businesses are expected to absorb.

“Inconsistent and poorly communicated state border closures, purchasing COVID-19 related PPE, higher AdBlue costs and the impact of the previous government’s six-month fuel tax cut are all hitting our industry,” said Clark.

“From 1 April to 18 August 2022, some 2,000 heavy on-road transport operators had to negotiate payment arrangements with the ATO because of the fuel tax Budget decision,” he said.

Clark said the existing heavy vehicle cost base is meaningless, as it uses state governments’ road expenditure figures without any audit or appraisal.

“It means spending is entirely driven by governments’ budget decisions with no direct link to industry needs or increasing productivity.

“It also leads to new projects being prioritised over road maintenance spending.”

Clark said Australia needs a more systematic approach to building, maintaining and funding resilient infrastructure so there is less need for emergency measures.

In other news, current arrangements for Performance-Based Standards have been questioned for stifling innovation.

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