Not content with over charging the trucking industry through rego charges, the Queensland government is to make trucks bear the full cost of a road upgrade. The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) President, Allan Thornley, has called on governments not to view Australia’s road transport industry as a ‘milch cow’ providing them with an easy source of revenue.
“The Australian road transport sector continues to be overcharged by the Commonwealth and State governments by a minimum of $200 million annually, via the heavy vehicle charges regime,” said Thornley, in a statement in reaction to the Queensland announcement. “Despite acknowledging that the overcharging exists, governments continue to avoid implementing the simple changes necessary to correct the overcharges.
“The recent announcement by the Queensland Government compounds these concerns with its announced plans to fund the $450 million upgrade to Brisbane’s Logan Motorway solely by an increase in truck tolls, this is unacceptable. What is especially concerning here is the complete lack of consultation with industry and the assumption that industry can be milked as an easy source of revenue.
“The road transport industry does not exist in a vacuum. The claimed 52 per cent increase in freight traffic volumes does not occur for no reason, it’s due to an increase in the demand for goods and services as part of a growing economy. The road transport sector is the essential backbone to economic growth and development. Therefore, any costs should also be borne by the broader community.
“The alternative is for a more considered and consultative approach by the Queensland Government with ALL motorway users, with the trucking sector, of course, paying its appropriate share along with everybody else. Margins in the transport sector are tight. Increased costs will need to be passed on, which will mean increased prices in consumer goods and services to the general community. Industry supports the continuing development of vital infrastructure upgrades and developments. But the way to do that is by a consultative and cooperative engagement with all road users, to determine the best mix of funding and appropriate increases in user charges”.