Road user charge debate continues

A DISALLOWANCE of motion ahead of the rollout of new road user charges on July 1 did not gain ground as the Queensland Trucking Association would have hoped.

QTA members have been advised to adjust their freight rates accordingly to take into account the added costs.

The new road user charge (fuel excise) was introduced on July 1, meaning the on-road fuel grant will now be 2.4c/l less at 12.6c/l making the new road user charge 25.5c/l.

The Coalition had called on the Federal Government to put the brakes on the massive increases - the proposed 10.4% hike on road user charges, especially as the carbon tax would come into effect and at a time when the industry was struggling to survive big cost increases.

Instead the disallowance of motion will be dealt with after the parliament's winter break.

Meanwhile the national assistant secretary of the Transport Workers' Union Michael Kaine has been critical of Warren Truss' (pictured) proposal to reduce the increase to 5.7% by eliminating a $144 million surcharge imposed to correct earlier mistakes.

Mr Kaine said the number one issue for the thousands of TWU owner-drivers was cost recovery.

"Transport as an industry operates largely as a sweatshop on wheels, with low margins and a system where charges cannot be fully recovered from major transport clients," he said.

"If Mr Truss truly had the interests of truckies at heart he would have supported the Safe Rates legislation in Federal Parliament earlier this year instead of siding with big transport clients like Coles."

In the 11th-hour bid to win a reprieve for truckers, Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Warren Truss' letter to Minister Anthony Albanese fell on deaf ears and the motion was filed.

"The trucking industry has been alarmed ever since the National Transport Commission (NTC) decreed a 10.4% increase in heavy vehicle charges to take effect from July 1," Mr Truss said.

"The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) said that decision is based on out-dated truck numbers that inflate the amount drivers must pay to the government in 2012-13 and overstated road building and maintenance calculations.

"Instead of counting the actual number of truck registrations, the ATA said the NTC took old registration figures and extrapolated a theoretical fleet size, which will see drivers fork out $700 million more than they should.

"Making matters worse, usual consultation has, this year, been shambolic. Documents provided to industry were later altered before being given to ministers for a decision.

"The industry was not provided with detailed information on the model used by the NTC.

"In fact, these were only made available after industry secured a Freedom of Information request and, even then, only after the NTC's recommendations had already been accepted by the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure (SCOTI)."

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