A decision by the Federal Government will see the road user charge increase shelved for the 2020-2021 financial year. The Federal Government’s decision to freeze the Heavy Vehicle Road User Charge at current levels was announced early this morning, May 1.
According to the announcement, all levels of Government are taking decisive action to support freight operators working hard to keep shelves stocked and essential goods moving during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Road User Charge, which is set to recover the heavy vehicle share of road maintenance and improvements, will stay at 25.8 cents per litre for diesel in 2020-21 instead of increasing by the scheduled 2.5 per cent,” said Michael McCormack, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development. “Our response today demonstrates our commitment to supporting the heavy vehicle industry as we put Australia in the best position possible to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Australia’s heavy vehicle industry is crucial to sustaining our economy and distributing critical goods during the COVID-19 pandemic. This freeze will ease some of the current pressures on the industry. It is so important we help maintain the supply and flow of medicines and medical equipment and food and essential items to our supermarket shelves at this time. Road freight is absolutely critical to this.”
Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said all levels of Government are continuing to work together, along with industry and regulators such as the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, to minimise any unnecessary barriers to freight movement and get the road user charge increase shelved.
“Following the closure of some State and Territory borders, the Federal Government has been coordinating national action to make sure essential workers who aren’t travelling in trains or trucks such as safety inspectors, mechanics and maintenance crew, are able to get to where they need to be with limited disruptions,” said Buchholz. “The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee and the National Cabinet have also approved an exemption for roadhouses, dedicated truck stop facilities and truck driver lounges to remain open so Australia’s heavy vehicle drivers have access to showers, restrooms and facilities to undertake their mandated fatigue management breaks. This is critical to keeping freight moving during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have been working very closely with industry throughout this pandemic, hearing from operators large and small. As a Government we acknowledge the transport sector has had two speeds during this pandemic. There are those that have been working relentlessly with greater amounts of freight to move, while many other operators across the supply chain have experienced the opposite and suffered as a result of COVID-19.
“These measures go some way in demonstrating all levels of Government recognise the pressure on the transport industry at this time. The Government has the back of these hard working Australian men and women of the transport industry who continue to work so hard to ensure critical supplies reach Australians when and where they need them.”