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Coalition turns heat up on government over road charges



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DAVID H a w k e r : Federal Member for Wannon Shadow Minister for Land Transport

M e d i a R e l e a s e

Coalition Turns Heat: Up on Government; Over Road Charges

The Coalition will refuse to agree to the establishment of the National Road Transport Commission (NRTC) as proposed by the Government because the Government has not given the NRTC wide enough reference powers to consider the taxes which the road transport industry already pays.

Otherwise, the new charges which it is proposed that the NRTC will recommend will be on top of these existing taxes sending many people out of business.

Moreover, the NRTC has not been given wide enough terms of

reference to examine the construction and maintenance costs of roads in Australia. The Coalition believes that there is

considerable scope to reduce costs by increasing the efficiency of road construction and maintenance. Even the former Minister for Transport, Peter Morris, has agreed with this. The benefits to all road users from more efficient road construction and maintenance are substantial.

The Government's alleged reform package is in a shambles. It does not have the capacity to carry out real reform - all it is proposing is to continue to use road transport as a milch cow, by slugging it for more money and reducing road funding.

The Government has not even guaranteed that any monies raised from their additional charges will go back to roads. Given the record of this Government this will not happen. Since this Government has been in power, fuel excise revenue has risen by over 120% in real terms, whilst road funding has fallen by 20%.

Both the Prime Minister and the Minister for Land Transport have admitted that road transport is overtaxed - yet they want to put additional charges on top of these taxes. This will increase transport costs and decrease Australia's competitiveness. Micro reform must be about reducing costs and increasing

competitiveness.

Let me make it clear that the Coalition agrees with the

establishment of a NRTC as a means to achieve a more rational approach to road transport charging and road funding. Yet we cannot agree with using the Commission to increase charges on road transport without giving it the opportunity to review all the taxes currently paid by road transport.

And that means wider terms of reference for the NRTC. . . ./2

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

s- 2 -That is why we will not currently support the establishment of the NRTC in the form which the Government is proposing. We see no sense in setting up a new bureaucracy to do nothing but reduce Australia's competitiveness - which is what the Government is proposing.ends 26 November 1991Contact: David Hawker (06) 277 4231Janice Wykes (06) 277 4231 or (06) 288 3946