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Interstate Road Transport Charge Amendment Bill 2010

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Interstate Road Transport Charge Amendment Bill 2010





















(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 2010




The Interstate Road Transport Charge Act 1985 (the Act) imposes registration charges for heavy vehicles registered under the Australian Government’s Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS), to recover the cost of road usage by heavy vehicles.


Sub-section 5(6) of the Act specifies that any regulations made for the purpose of Section 5 (Amount of Charge) must not take effect earlier than the first day after the end of the Disallowance Period.


The Interstate Road Transport Charge Amendment Bill 2010 (the Bill) provides for a technical amendment that repeals sub-section 5(6).


The Bill will allow a subsequent amendment to the Interstate Road Transport Charge Regulations 2009 (the Regulations) that will reduce the 2010-2011 annual automatic charge adjustment from 9.7 per cent to 4.2 per cent, to take effect from 1 July 2010.    There are no administrative provisions within the Act or the related Interstate Road Transport Act 1985 that would enable the difference in charge levels to be dealt with by way of a refund or other administrative means.


The deletion of sub-section 5(6) does not change or prevent legitimate parliamentary scrutiny.  The provisions of Part 5 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 that facilitate scrutiny by the Parliament of registered legislative instruments will still apply to amendments to the Regulations.  Those provisions could still operate to disallow an amendment to the Regulations that came into effect on 1 July 2010.


The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed in February 2008 that heavy vehicle charges should be adjusted annually to maintain cost recovery.  This agreement was given effect through an automatic adjustment formula in the Interstate Road Transport Charge Regulations in 2009.  Adjustments to the heavy vehicle registration charge are highly dependent on changes in the level of spending on roads and bridges and on changes in road usage.  Spending across all levels of government has increased significantly in recent years and an unexpected and substantial growth in the number of large heavy vehicles would result in a potential over-recovery of $116 million in 2010-11 if the current annual adjustment formula is applied to the heavy vehicle fleet.


The automatic annual adjustment to the registration charges would apply from 1 July 2010.   Applicationof the existing formula would result in a charges adjustment of 9.7 per cent being applied to all heavy vehicles, including those registered under the FIRS. 


All Governments have agreed, through their transport ministers, to amend their respective charges regulations to modify the annual adjustment formula to maintain cost recovery.  This would result in a 4.2 per cent adjustment for 2010-11. 




There is no net financial 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.  State and Territory governments are required to use FIRS funds on road maintenance within their jurisdictions.
















































Interstate Road Transport Charge Amendment Bill 2010




Clause 1:  Short Title


1.         This clause provides for the Act to be called the Interstate Road Transport             Charge Amendment Act 2010.


Clause 2:  Commencement


2.         This clause provides for the Act to come into effect on the day it receives Royal Assent. 


Clause 3:  Schedules


3.          Clause 3 provides that each Act specified in a Schedule to the Bill is amended in accordance with the terms set out in the Schedule.


Schedule 1 - Amendments


Interstate Road Transport Charge Act 1985



Item 1 is a formal provision which repeals subsection 5(6) of the Act.