Roadtrain operators set to be slugged

Previously secret figures held by the federal government reveal the commonwealth and the majority of state governments are planning to overcharge the rural transport industry by as much as 65 percent from July 1 this year, the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) has discovered.

In an intensely controversial decision, on March 21 the commonwealth and the majority of state governments formally agreed to increase registration charges for roadtrains by 21 percent, and to increase the rate of federal diesel tax by 10.39 percent from July 1 this year.

Freedom of Information (FOI) laws have now been used to force the National Transport Commission (NTC) to release its pricing model.

“Since governments announced their plan to impose a price?hike on the bush, rural transporters have been in uproar,” said John Beer, national president of the ALRTA. “These previously secret figures show the bush is going to be savagely overcharged.”

According to ALRTA, the combined governments can expect to earn $34,858 per annum from each double roadtrain in Australia, but the direct impact of these vehicles on the road network is only $21,097. Even allowing for a contribution to all the overheads of the state road networks, the true ‘cost to government’ rises to just $24,894.

It’s a similar story with triple roadtrains where governments can expect to receive
$53,984 per vehicle, while they should be taking a minimum of $40,982 and, at most, $46,734, ALRTA claims.

“The so?called national charging system is meant to be a cost?recovery system,” John continued. “These secret government figures show the planned charges on roadtrainswill go far beyond what’s reasonable.

“Already, we’ve seen the Western Australian and Northern Territory governments walk away from the decision, saying that they can’t justify the price?hike on road trains. I congratulate Minister Buswell and Minister McCarthy for standing up to defend rural Australia.”

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