The acting CEO of the ATA, Bill McKinley, has said that truck fuel charges and registration should be set over a three year period to avoid a one-off increase of 16.5 per cent, the  said today.

McKinley made the statement  as he released the ATA’s submission to the National Transport Commission on options for the 2021 PAYGO determination. PAYGO is used to determine the road user charge that businesses with trucks pay on fuel and truck registration charges in every state except Western Australia and the NT.

“The NTC is looking at three options for truck charges, including  one that  would see an increase in charges of  16.5 per cent, but this overall figure would include a 22 per cent increase in the road user charge and registration charge increases of 85 per cent for some vehicles,” Bill McKinley said.

“The ATA submission recognises that even large businesses struggle to increase their rates in line with CPI.

“That’s why we are arguing that charges should increase 2 per cent in 2022-23, followed by a three per cent increase in each of 2023-24 and 2024-25.

“To maximise certainty for the industry and governments, the charges should be set for the whole three year period covered by the determination, with the NTC publishing information for the industry and customers about how the charges will change,” he said.

The submission argues that trucking businesses should only be charged directly for major road projects that have been endorsed by an independent infrastructure agency such as Infrastructure Australia.

“At present, the charging system is entirely driven by governments’ spending decisions. It requires trucking operators to pay an outsize share of the cost of road investments that are not freight priorities and higher costs due to inadequate project assessment and selection,” McKinley said.

The submission argues strongly against the NTC’s proposal to remove the community service obligation (CSO) discount in the charging system for double and triple road trains serving remote communities.

“The CSO for remote communities should not just be retained; it should be expanded as part of a whole of government response to the report of the House of Representatives Indigenous Affairs Committee on food pricing and food security in remote Indigenous communities,” he said.

Mr McKinley thanked the members of the ATA Transport and Economics Committee for their contribution to the submission.

“The updated PAYGO model is of great importance to the trucking industry and its members, which is why it is vital the new model achieve effective, value for money results for industry, governments and the community,” he said.