HIT HARD: Truckies will be slugged 10.4% more in road user charges. Photo: File
HIT HARD: Truckies will be slugged 10.4% more in road user charges. Photo: File

Drivers pay more to use the roads

A MOTION to try and stop road user charges increasing has been voted down in Federal Parliament.

The house was split evenly last week and deputy speaker Anna Burke's casting vote could be the "straw that breaks the camel's back".

Debate around the motion was fierce; opponents saying without the full 10.4% rise the safety of all road users would be at risk, those for it saying trucking operators and companies could not wear another price hike.

Member for Flynn, Ken O'Dowd, said the increase should not be imposed on an industry that was key to preventing the nation from running out of essential stocks.

"I believe it is important that the parliament agree on a compromise of a most modest increase of 5.7%. A 10.4% increase would cripple an industry that is already struggling in a lot of areas," he said.

"There comes a time when the last straw will break the camel's back, and this, I am afraid, could happen to the transport industry."

National leader Warren Truss, who moved the motion, was called short sighted by Member for Moreton, Graham Perrett. Mr Perrett said the move had the potential to leave taxpayers footing a $700 million bill for wear and tear on roads caused by heavy vehicles.

Pointing out the tax would also pay a $140 million extension to the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program which constructed rest areas, parking and decoupling bays and other projects to improve safety and productivity in the industry, Mr Perrett said the increase would keep truckies and other people on the road safe.

He actually saw a Big Rigs' article about Truckies Danger Money, saying safety was an important cause.

Parliamentary secretary for Infrastructure and Transport Catherine King strongly objected to the motion.

"The truck industry is growing and unfortunately the number of road crashes involving trucks is rising with it," she said.

"Over the past 10 years, the number of kilometres travelled by commercial heavy vehicles around the country has increased by more than 20%.

"Those of us who live in regional and country areas certainly know that the number of heavy vehicles that we see on roads that were never designed to take these vehicles is growing. Truck drivers are driving longer hours and longer distances with shorter deadlines."


Tony Windsor blamed:

NATIONALS leader Warren Truss blamed Tony Windsor for the loss in parliament.

"Tony Windsor backed Labor to ramp up truckers' on-road costs by a staggering 10.4%," the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport said.

"The people of New England depend on road freight. This price hike for truckers will be reflected in the cost of all the goods they buy. Had Mr Windsor stood up for his electorate this new cost would have been killed-off.

"Anthony Albanese is unashamedly robbing truckers of their hard-earned money to stuff Labor coffers, and Tony Windsor is his partner in crime."

In June, Mr Truss wrote to Transport Minister Anthony Albanese calling on him to see reason and slash the massive increase in the Road User Charge from 10.4% to the 5.7% agreed to by the industry.

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