The federal budget, handed down last night, has provided a wide range of announcements and future plans for the trucking and transport industry.

The major announcement made with the budget was the increase to the road user charge, which serves as a problematic price hike for many operators currently doing it tough around Australia.

Already opposed by NatRoad and challenged by the Victorian Transport Association (VTA), the heavy vehicle road user charge will be increased by six per cent a year from 27.2 cents per litre of diesel to 32.4 cents by 2025-26.

The increase will help the federal government gain more money and save up to $1.1 billion over four years through reductions in the cost of the fuel tax credit.

The federal government worked in conjunction with state and territory transport ministers to make this change, with the extra money to be used on paying for road repairs and maintenance.

But the news isn’t all bad from the federal budget, with small businesses to receive a bonus tax discount if they commit to electrifying their operations.

Transport companies moving to transition to zero-emissions vehicles and operations will also receive a big boost, with $450 million going towards some of Australia’s largest carbon emitters to reduce their emissions.

RELATED ARTICLE: NatRoad and the VTA respond to the RUC increase

The federal government has also set $2 billion aside to launch a clean hydrogen industry in Australia, with no details released yet on how it’ll be implemented, while $83 million will go towards the creation of a Net Zero Authority to transition workers out of high-emitting industries.

This funding will help make it easier for transport companies when July hits and the sector is required to cut or offset emissions by nearly five per cent a year until 2030.

The funding has also allowed the federal government to commit to more road and infrastructure projects, with transport minister Catherine King already announcing new sustainable network projects in regional Australian areas and Central Australia as well as a new $120 billion infrastructure pipeline to make suburbs and cities more efficient.

Finally, the ability to recruit skilled migrants to fill worker shortages has received a hit, with the cost to apply for a visa set to rise by six per cent in a move that will give the government an extra $660 million.

The rise will be even bigger for people on short-stay visas, with the federal government predicting the lift to drop down again in further years when population growth evens out and migration returns to normal levels.