The Australian Trucking Association is calling for the abolishment of truck registration labels and the introduction of a monthly registration fee.
CEO of the ATA, Christopher Melham believes other states should follow Western Australia’s lead, a tmove would see the industry save hundreds of thousands of dollars in government costs and a reduction in hours of administration time.
“The Western Australian approach to removing labels should be extended nationally, and operators should be able to make monthly payments to reduce the cash flow burden of the high charges,” Melham said.
According to Melham, governments should accept the National Transport Commission’s findings that the existing rego system will overtax truck and bus operators by more than half a billion dollars in 2016-17 and 2017-18, and immediately cut charges.
“The heavy vehicle charging system must be a cost-recovery mechanism, not a general taxation regime,” he said.
“If governments do not accept this recommendation, the only acceptable alternative in the ATA’s view would be to investigate a technical change to the way the PAYGO cost base is calculated, so it would include one year of forecast and one year of estimated expenditure.
“Modelling commissioned by the ATA shows that this approach should address the revenue concerns of governments while still providing fair results for the industry.
Melham said the current PAYGO model had not succeeded in delivering predictable and stable registration charges.
“Trucking businesses need heavy vehicle charges to remain stable from year to year, or at least to change at a relatively stable rate,” he said.
“Our submission recommends that governments should empower the National Transport Commission to determine a smoothed path for charges during what should become fixed, five-year determination periods.
“The NTC should also be designated as the independent pricing regulator for heavy vehicle charges, with decisions appealable to the Australian Competition Tribunal. At present, the NTC only has the ability to recommend charges.”