The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) is asking the National Transport Commission (NTC) to give the industry some relief from increased heavy vehicle charges next year.
In its submission to the Commission’s Heavy Vehicle Charges consultation process, NatRoad says that the pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) model is broken and truck operators cannot afford to be slugged by another increase in registration and road user charges.
“NatRoad strongly believes that road charging reform must take into account all road users and provide a better, more equitable system for paying for the costs of road construction,” CEO Warren Clark said.
“Until the Heavy Vehicle Road Reform process is implemented, we support a fixed price increase of 3.5% or CPI increase (whichever is lower).
“Our industry has suffered from the impact of bush fires, floods and now COVID-19, as acknowledged by Transport Ministers.
“These events and difficult industry conditions have constrained the industry’s ability to cope with increased costs, inclusive of government charges.
“The PAYGO model for heavy vehicle charges should only be used as a 2021-22 baseline on which to calculate future HV charges.”
Mr Clark says PAYGO assumes that all Australia’s roads are sealed when most are not.
“It operates to include all costs incurred in one year in the next year’s charges. Capital and current costs are not separated.
“And it results in payments flowing to States and Territories that do not take into account the real cost recovery need for road construction and maintenance as that is related to heavy vehicle usage.
“A new model is needed to underpin the HVRR process. In the meantime, a fixed price increase is a better outcome than the application of the PAYGO or alternative models.”