Friday, September 13, 2013

Trucking Group Boss Praises Cancellation of Fuel Tax Increase

Incoming Administration Plans New Transport Infrastructure and No Satellite Tracking as Yet
Shipping News Feature

AUSTRALIA – The recent Coalition victory in the national elections seems to suit stakeholders in the freight industry with the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) today congratulating Prime Minister-elect, Tony Abbott, and the Deputy Prime Minister-elect, Warren Truss, on their fairly convincing election victory last Saturday. The ATA had targeted four key things they wanted from a new government, and said it had awarded the Coalition ‘four ticks out of four in its pre-election report card’. One of the incumbent Labor government policies which will now be dropped was the tax increase on truck fuel due to be introduced in July 2014. Going up at an initial rate of A1.6 cents per litre it was scheduled to reach A5.1 cents by July 2016. ATA Chairman David Simon, commented on this and other initiatives, saying:

“The Coalition victory has freed the industry from the threat of this extra tax, the threat is gone even if the Senate tries to block the repeal of the carbon tax laws. The extension of the tax to truck fuel is not part of the existing laws and would have required new legislation. The Coalition has put forward a strong plan for building roads and improving how they are planned, and has also pledged it will not move to a satellite based system for tracking and billing trucks without extensive industry consultation.

“There needs to be much better consultation about how much this plan would cost the industry and the economy. Official figures show the plan would drag Australia backwards: it could have economic benefits of minus A$500 million. Frankly, it needs to be put back in the drawer until there is a proven business case.”

Not all Mr Simon’s comments about the outgoing administration were negative however, he had praise for the contribution made by outgoing Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, saying:

“During his six years in the infrastructure portfolio, Mr Albanese oversaw the construction or upgrading of 7,500 kilometres of roads, including the completion of the Hume Highway duplication. On his watch, the federal government started funding truck rest areas for the first time, with 95 new rest areas or rest area upgrades now completed. He oversaw the creation of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and introduced excellent arrangements for consulting with the industry.”

Photo: A post-war picture of an Aussie road train. Believed to be a Diamond T 980, an ex US army vehicle (they were excellent tank transporters) many were bought up for commercial use, but with a fully loaded (120 tonnes) top speed of around 23 mph, they were surely not popular with long haul drivers.