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Road Transport Charges (Australian Capital Territory) Amendment Bill 2002

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2002

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Road Transport Charges (Australian Capital Territory) Amendment Bill 2002

 

Interstate Road Transport Charge Amendment Bill 2002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Transport and Regional Services

the Honourable John Anderson, MP)



ROAD TRANSPORT CHARGES (AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY) AMENDMENT BILL 2002

 

INTERSTATE ROAD TRANSPORT CHARGE AMENDMENT BILL 2002

 

OUTLINE

 

The purpose of the Road Transport Charges (Australian Capital Territory) Amendment Bill 2002 (the Bill) is to amend the Road Transport Charges (Australian Capital Territory) Act 1993 (the Principal Act) to provide for automatic annual adjustments to the level of heavy vehicle registration charges in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).  The annual adjustment is based on a formula that accounts for changes in road provision and maintenance expenditure and expected changes in road use.

 

The Principal Act forms part of a system of nationally consistent road transport laws envisaged under Heads of Government Agreements that are attached as schedules to the National Road Transport Commission Act 1991 .  In accordance with the Agreements, it is intended that the Bill amend the substantive law of the ACT in respect of heavy vehicle registration charges.  The States, the Northern Territory and the Commonwealth will then either reference or adopt the ACT legislation, thus delivering nationally uniform heavy vehicle registration charges.  The Australian Transport Council, comprising Commonwealth, State and Territory Transport Ministers, has approved the procedures for the adjustment and the Bill, which were developed by the National Road Transport Commission in consultation with State and Territory registration authorities and transport agencies, the Commonwealth, the transport industry, and other interested parties. 

 

The purpose of the cognate Interstate Road Transport Charge Amendment Bill 2002 is to amend the Interstate Road Transport Charge Act 1985 so that the automatic annual adjustment set out in the Bill is applied to vehicles registered under the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS).  FIRS is an alternative to State or Territory based registration for heavy vehicles engaged solely in interstate trade and commerce.  The States and Territories administer FIRS on behalf of the Commonwealth.

 

Financial impact statement

 

Financial significance is low.  The annual adjustment is to account for changes in the amount of road expenditure by the States and Territories that are attributable to heavy vehicles.  Adjustments to the registration charges are moderated by the application of rolling averages to the costs and an adjustment ‘floor’ (of zero) and a 'ceiling' (of the underlying Consumer Price Index).  The Commonwealth receives no direct financial benefit but Australia’s economy benefits indirectly from the application of uniform national charges within the transport industry.  Under FIRS, registration charges are returned to the States and Territories under an agreed distribution formula that accounts for road usage by FIRS vehicles.  For the States and Territories any increases in charges reflect the combined level of expenditure on provision and maintenance of road infrastructure for heavy vehicles.  The charges therefore remain in line with the road infrastructure costs attributable to heavy vehicle use.

 

Regulation impact statement

 

The Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) is attached.  The Office of Regulation Review has indicated that the RIS meets relevant guidelines.

ROAD TRANSPORT CHARGES (AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY) AMENDMENT BILL 2002

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1: Short Title

 

This clause provides for this Act to be cited as the Road Transport Charges (Australian Capital Territory) Amendment Act 2002 (the Act).

 

Clause 2: Commencement

 

This clause provides for the Act to commence on Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3: Schedule(s)

 

This clause provides for amendments or repeal of Acts as set out in a Schedule to the Act.

 

SCHEDULE 1 - Amendment of the Road Transport Charges (Australian Capital Territory) Act 1993 .

 

Schedule 1 amends the Road Transport Charges (Australian Capital Territory) Act 1993 (the Principal Act) as set out below

 

Item 1 - After section 3

 

A new section 3A is inserted that provides for any new adjustment to the level of charge for each specified vehicle class to be applied on 1 July of the relevant year.  The first application of the adjustment formula is to occur on 1 July 2002.  The section also provides that any new adjustment is applied to the level of charges that most recently applied.  In addition the section requires the National Road Transport Commission (NRTC) to publish details of the calculations of the new charges, for the information of the public.

 

Item 2 - Section 4

 

This item limits the operation of section 4 to only enable alteration, by regulation, those amounts specified in Part 3 of the Schedule to the Principal Act.  Part 3 of the Schedule prescribes the permit charges for vehicles or vehicle combinations over 125 tonnes.  The effect of this amendment is to remove the power to vary charges set out in other parts of the Schedule.

 

Item 3 - Part 2 of the Schedule

 

This item repeals Part 2 of the Schedule (a table setting out the level of charges) of the Principal Act and substitutes a new Part 2 which sets out a table of the current charges.  The current charges were put in place in October 2001 by the Road Transport Charges (Australian Capital Territory) Amendment Regulations 2001.

 



Item 4 - At the end of the Schedule

 

This item inserts a fourth part in the Schedule of the Principal Act, which sets out the new automatic annual adjustment formula. 

 

Paragraph 1 sets out the formula for calculating the percentage by which charges will be adjusted.  This percentage adjustment accounts for the effects of changes in expenditure by States and Territories on the following classes of roads: Rural Arterial Roads; Rural Local Roads; Urban Arterial Roads; and Urban Local Roads.  The change in expenditure on each class of road is multiplied by a factor to account for the relative level of road infrastructure costs attributable to heavy vehicles on each class of road.  Further, a component of the formula applies a road use factor that accounts for projected changes in the numbers of and travel by heavy vehicles.  The calculations for the various factors used in this formula have been provided and reviewed in the Regulatory Impact Statement.  A standard rounding rule ensures that the final percentage is correct to one decimal place.

 

Paragraphs 2 and 3 provide for a 'ceiling' and a 'floor' that limits the adjustment percentage to a range between nil and the underlying Consumer Price Index (CPI) indexation factor for the relevant 1 July.  This means that the adjustment factor does not result in a decrease in charges and that any increase is no more than the level of underlying inflation.

 

Paragraph 4 provides a further final rounding provision to ensure that the final calculated charge for each class of vehicle is a whole dollar amount.

 

Paragraph 5 sets out the method for calculating changes in expenditure for each of the four classes of roads.  These changes in expenditure are referred to as adjustment factors and are calculated using specified data on changes in expenditure for each class of road.  These factors are in effect the difference between the average of the three most recent years of expenditure compared to the average of expenditure in the previous three years.  That is, the annual percentage change between three year moving averages of road expenditure.  To provide transparency, the paragraph requires the expenditure inputs used in these calculations to be published in the annual report of the NRTC, which is tabled in Parliament.  For 2002, the NRTC is required to publish the necessary data separately.  This is because the current NRTC annual report does not contain the necessary expenditure data and the next annual report, which will contain the data, will not be published until after July 2002.  Again a standard rule for rounding the adjustment factors is applied. 

 

Paragraph 6 requires that the CPI indexation factor that determines the 'ceiling' for any particular 1 July is calculated using the average of the sum of the current year's and the previous year's quarterly ‘All Groups Consumer Price Index’, as provided and published by the Australian Statistician.  The index applied is required to be the one that is the ‘weighted average for the 8 capital cities’.  A standard rounding rule to one decimal place is applied to the resultant CPI indexation factor.  Provision is also made for any changes in the reference base made by the Australian Statistician. The CPI indexation factor will be nil if calculated as less than nil, which ensures that the ceiling applied to the adjustment formula is never a negative amount.  Special index numbers apply for the March and June 2000 quarters to moderate the short-term effects of the introduction of the Goods and Service Tax.  This ensures that the CPI indexation factor reflects the level of underlying inflation.



 

INTERSTATE ROAD TRANSPORT CHARGE AMENDMENT BILL 2002

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1: Short Title

 

This clause provides for this Act to be cited as the Interstate Road Transport Charge Amendment Act 2002 .

 

Clause 2: Commencement

 

This clause  provides for the Act to commence on Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3: Schedule(s)

 

This clause provides for amendments or repeal of Acts as set out in a Schedule to the Act.

 

SCHEDULE 1 - Amendment of the Interstate Road Transport Charge Act 1985 .

 

Item 1 - Section 6

 

Item 1 repeals section 6, the regulation making power that allowed for a potential annual 5% adjustment to any existing level of charge and inserts a new section 5A.  Section 5A ensures that any existing charge will be adjusted consistently with the adjustment amount determined in section 3A of the Road Transport Charges (Australian Capital Territory) Act 1993 (the Principal Act ) on the relevant date. 

 

This amendment ensures that the charges determined under this Act are not able to exceed those determined under the Principal Act .  However, the previous ability to determine, by regulation, a reduction in charges of up to 5% is retained in a new section 6.  This provides some flexibility for the Commonwealth, consistent with that provided to the States and Territories who may apply their own charges below the national level set out in the Principal Act.

 

Item 2 - The Schedule (note appearing after the Schedule heading)

 

This item amends the note immediately after the heading to insert a reference to the new section 5A.  This ensures users are aware of the effect of that provision on the Schedule.