THE National Road Transport Operators Association (NatRoad) has the strongest condemnation for state and territory transport ministers (excluding the Northern Territory and Queensland) who last week voted in favour of the National Transport Commission's (NTC) recommended road user charges for 2012-13.
Indeed, some transport ministers showed contempt for the road transport sector by failing to attend the vote and instead, hand-balling the decision to senior departmental officials.
The new charges will see registration fees for truck and trailer combinations increase by as much as 31.6% from 1 July 2012.
Despite a concerted effort by NatRoad to convince state and territory transport ministers to vote against the NTC's recommendations, the majority adopted the new charges.
NatRoad Chief Executive Officer, Chris Melham said, "the road transport sector is being made to pay the price for the state's having a monopoly on the setting of registration charges as evidenced by this decision".
"We have always advocated that the road transport sector should pay its way however, a 10.4% increase in the fuel tax coupled with registration increases as high as 31.6%, is a blatant abuse of Parliamentary power at the expense of the most important industry in the Australian economy. This is Carbon Tax by stealth on the trucking industry."
Whilst NatRoad acknowledges that the registration charges for B-double combinations will be reduced, the increase in fuel tax will mitigate any savings for B-double operators.
"NatRoad is consulting with road transport operators across Australia to determine the full impact of this decision on their livelihoods and consumers, who will ultimately bear the cost of these exorbitant increases."