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Interstate Road Transport Charge Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2008

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2008

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

HOUES OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTERSTATE ROAD TRANSPORT CHARGE AMENDMENT BILL (NO. 2) 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government,

the Honourable Anthony Albanese MP).



INTERSTATE ROAD TRANSPORT CHARGE AMENDMENT BILL

(NO. 2) 2008

 

OUTLINE

 

The purpose of the Interstate Road Transport Charge Amendment Bill (No.2) 2008 (the Bill) is to amend the Interstate Road Transport Charge Act 1985 (IRTCA) which imposes registration charges for heavy vehicles registered under the Australian Government’s voluntary Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS). 

 

The Bill allows regulations to be made to specify heavy vehicle charges for application to FIRS vehicles. 

 

The Bill will enable the implementation of the registration charge elements of the 2007 Heavy Vehicle Charges Determination (the Determination) which revises national charges for heavy vehicles and trailers, for application to heavy vehicles registered under FIRS.  The Determination was agreed to by the Australian Transport Council on 29 February 2008 and was implemented by the States on 1 July 2008.  The Northern Territory is currently introducing the new national charges into their Parliament with commencement expected before the end of 2008.  The timing for implementation by the Australian Capital Territory Government rests on the passage of the Road Charges Legislation Repeal and Amendment Bill 2008.

 

The implementation of the Determination is part of the national road transport reform agenda, as agreed under the Inter-Governmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational Reform in Road, Rail and Intermodal Transport .  The Determination implements the Council of Australian Governments’ request to fully recover the costs of provision of the road network to the heavy vehicle industry.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

There is no net impact on the Australian Government Budget flowing from this amendment.  All revenue from FIRS charges is returned to the state and territory governments under an agreed distribution formula that accounts for road usage by FIRS heavy vehicles. 

 

REGULATION IMPACT STATEMENT

 

The amendment to the Interstate Road Transport Charge Act 1985 enables the implementation of the national charges detailed in the 2007 Heavy Vehicle Charges Determination and agreed by the Australian Transport Council on 29 February 2008.

 

A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was completed by the National Transport Commission and approved by the Office of Best Practice Regulation as part of the process of making the 2007 Heavy Vehicle Charges Determination.  That process included extensive public consultation.

 

A copy of the RIS (Volumes I and II), is attached.



NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1:  Short Title

 

Clause 1 provides for the Act to be called the Interstate Road Transport Charge Amendment Act (No.2) 2008.

 

Clause 2:  Commencement

 

Clause 2 provides for sections 1-3 of the Bill to come into effect on Royal Assent and for Schedule 1, which applies the amendments, to commence on a date to be proclaimed.

 

Clause 3:  Schedules

 

Clause 3 provides that each Act specified in a Schedule to the Bill is amended or repealed in accordance with the terms set out in the Schedule.  In this Bill, the Interstate Road Transport Charge Act 1985 is being amended.

 

Schedule 1 - Amendments

 

Interstate Road Transport Charge Act 1985

 

Item 1

 

Item 1 is a formal provision which amends the title.  The phrase ‘motor vehicle or trailer’ is replaced by ‘vehicle’ because ‘vehicle’ is defined in the Bill to include a trailer.

 

Item 2

 

Item 2 inserts new subsections 3A, 3B and 3C.

 

New subsection 3A provides definitions for terms used throughout the Act.  These are terms included in the National Transport Commission (Model Heavy Vehicle Charges Act) Regulations 2008  which sets out the registration charges elements of the Determination.

 

New subsection 3B describes measurements to determine categories of axles to facilitate the allocation of a vehicle to the appropriate charging category.

 

New subsection 3C facilitates the allocation of a vehicle to the appropriate charging category where a converter dolly or low loader dolly is to be used in conjunction with another trailer.

 

New paragraph 3C(1 ) specifies the combinations which are to be considered as one trailer.

 

New paragraph 3C(2) explains that the provisions in 3C(1) relate only to the determination of the number of trailers that a prime mover or truck are nominated to tow.  For charging purposes, a separate charge still applies for each converter dolly or low loader dolly and for each semi trailer.

 

Item 3

 

Item 3 repeals existing subsection 4(1) and substitutes the following:

 

New subsection 4(1) imposes a charge on the registration of a vehicle in a category listed in new subsection 4(1A) of the Bill.

 

New subsection 4(1A) lists the various vehicle categories for which a charge is payable in relation to registration.

 

Item 4

 

Item 4 omits ‘motor vehicles and trailers’ from Subsection 4(2) and substitutes ‘vehicles’, as the definition of 'vehicle' added by the Bill includes a trailer.

 

Item 5

 

Item 5 adds new subsection 4(3) which limits the application of the charge imposed in subsection 4(1) to vehicles with a Mass Rating for Charging of more than 4.5 tonnes.

 

Item 6

 

Item 6 repeals the existing section 5 and substitutes the following:

 

New subsection 5(1) incorporates references to the categories of vehicle listed under new subsection 4(1A) in relation to the amount of registration charge.

 

New subsection 5(2) amends the previous subsection 5(1A) so as to be consistent with the proposed new provisions of the Act.

 

New subsection 5(3) states that the amount of charge for a full year will be worked out in accordance with the regulations.  The regulations will provide for the charges either in a table of charges, depending on the year, or the application of an annual adjustment process for future years.

 

 

New subsection 5(4) sets out the formula to be used to work out the amount of charge that applies for the registration of a vehicle for periods of less than a full year.

 

New subsection 5(5) provides for the calculation of the registration charge for a vehicle which falls within 2 or more categories specified in subsection 4(1A).

 

New subsection 5(6) provides that the regulations made under new subsection 5(3) are not to take effect until the disallowance period has passed.

 

Item 7

 

Item 7 repeals sections 5A and 6.  Section 5A provided for registration charges to be linked to an annual automatic adjustment process which will be replaced by a new adjustment process detailed in the regulations made pursuant to sections 4 and 5 of the Act.  Section 6 provided for regulations to be made to reduce registration charges by up to 5%.  This provision is overtaken by the new enabling provision in the Bill allowing the regulations to specify the amount of charges.

 

Item 8

 

Item 8 The reference to new section 5 in relation to the Governor-General’s regulation-making powers replaces the existing reference to section 6 which is repealed by Item 7.

 

Item 9

 

Item 9 repeals the existing Schedule to the Act which includes a list of definitions as well as a reference to a table of charges.  The Schedule is replaced by provisions in the Bill which includes most of the existing definitions as well as additional national definitions aligning with new national charges.  The new charges will be set out in the regulations made pursuant to sections 4 and 5 of the Bill.

 

Item 10

 

Item 10 (1) provides that the charges imposed by section 5 of the Interstate Road Transport Charge Act 1985 continue to have effect until the regulations made under the amended Act take effect.  This provision is included to ensure that a heavy vehicle charge can continue to be imposed on the registration of a vehicle if the regulations, which specify the new charges, are disallowed.

 

Item 10 (2) provides that once those regulations take effect, the amendments in Schedule 1 apply to registration of vehicles in one of the categories in new subsection 4(1A).