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INTERSTATE ROAD TRANSPORT CHARGE AMENDMENT BILL (NO. 2) 2008E ROAD CHARGES LEGISLATION REPEAL AND AMENDMENT BILL 2008

Order of the day read for the further consideration of the bills in committee of the whole.

In the committee

ROAD CHARGES LEGISLATION REPEAL AND AMENDMENT BILL 2008—

Consideration resumed of the bill.

Bill further debated.

On the motion of the Leader of the Family First Party (Senator Fielding) the following request for an amendment was debated and agreed to:

 That the House of Representatives be requested to make the following amendment:

 Page 2 (after line 11), after clause 3, insert:

  

4 Review of Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program

  (1) The Minister must cause a review of the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program to be conducted.


  (2) The review must:

 (a) start on the third anniversary of the commencement of this section; and

 (b) be completed within 6 months.

  (3) The Minister must cause a written report about the review to be prepared.

  (4) The Minister must cause a copy of the report to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days after the Minister receives the report.

On the motion of the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (Senator Conroy) the following requests for amendments, taken together by leave, were debated and agreed to:

 That the House of Representatives be requested to make the following amendments:

 Schedule 3, item 1, page 5 (lines 6 to 8), omit the item, substitute:

 1 Subsection 43-10(3)

  Omit ", determined by the *Transport Minister", substitute "for the fuel".

 Schedule 3, item 3, page 5 (lines 11 and 12), omit the item.

 Schedule 3, item 4, page 5 (line 15), omit the heading to subsection 43-10(7), substitute:

   Determining the rate of road user charge

 Schedule 3, item 4, page 5 (lines 16 to 18), omit "The road user charge for taxable fuel means the following rate (as indexed in accordance with regulations made for the purposes of subsection (8))", substitute "The amount of road user charge for taxable fuel is worked out using the following rate".

 Schedule 3, item 4, page 5 (lines 19 and 20), omit "prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this definition", substitute "determined by the *Transport Minister".

 Schedule 3, item 4, page 5 (lines 22 and 23), omit "prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this definition", substitute "determined by the Transport Minister".

 Schedule 3, item 4, page 5 (lines 24 and 25), omit subsection 43-10(8), substitute:

  (8) For the purposes of subsection (7), the *Transport Minister may determine, by legislative instrument, the rate of the road user charge.

  (9) Before the *Transport Minister determines an increased rate of road user charge, the Transport Minister must:

 (a) make the following publicly available for at least 60 days:

 (i) the proposed increased rate of road user charge;

 (ii) any information that was relied on in determining the proposed increased rate; and

 (b) consider any comments received, within the period specified by the Transport Minister, from the public in relation to the proposed increased rate.


 (10) However, the *Transport Minister may, as a result of considering any comments received from the public in accordance with subsection (9), determine a rate of road user charge that is different from the proposed rate that was made publicly available without making that different rate publicly available in accordance with that subsection.

 Schedule 3, items 5 to 8, page 5 (line 26) to page 6 (line 8), omit the items.

Senator Macdonald moved the following requests for amendments together by leave:

 That the House of Representatives be requested to make the following amendments:

 No. 1—Schedule 3, item 4, page 5 (after line 25), at the end of section 43-10, add:

  (11) In determining the *road user charge, the *Transport Minister must not apply a method for indexing the charge.

 No. 2—Schedule 3, item 4, page 5 (after line 25), at the end of section 43-10, add:

  (12) The *Transport Minister must not make more than one determination in a financial year if the effect of the determination would be to increase the *road user charge more than once in that financial year.

 No. 3—Schedule 3, item 4, page 5 (after line 25), at the end of section 43-10, add:

  (13) A determination made under this section must not take effect earlier than the first day after the end of the period in which the determination may be disallowed under Part 5 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003.

 No. 4—Schedule 3, page 5 (after line 25), after item 4, insert:

 4A After section 43-10

  Insert:

 

43-15 Determining the road user charge

  (1) The *road user charge must be based on the figure (the net figure) that is the difference between:

 (a) the amount of government expenditure on construction and maintenance of public roads that is allocated to heavy vehicles; and

 (b) the amount of government revenue raised through registration of heavy vehicles and other charges imposed as a direct result of heavy vehicle use.

   Note: Government revenue, government expenditure and heavy vehicle are defined in subsection (4).

  (2) The rate of the *road user charge must not be increased unless:

 (a) the net figure has increased since the date the existing road user charge became effective; and

 (b) an average of at least 50 additional heavy vehicle rest areas have been constructed each year on the National Land Transport Network, as defined in the AusLink (National Land Transport) Act 2005, since the date the existing road user charge became effective; and


 (c) the type of rest areas constructed, their spacing and amenities are consistent with the goal that rest areas in the National Land Transport Network will comply by 2019 with the recommendations in the National Guidelines for the Provision of Rest Area Facilities Final Report, Revised November 2005, prepared by the National Transport Commission; and

 (d) substantial harmonisation has been achieved in State and Territory transport regulations, including heavy vehicle fatigue reform measures; and

 (e) Infrastructure Australia has advised the *Transport Minister in writing that:

 (i) the matters referred to in paragraphs (b), (c) and (d) have occurred, or will have occurred, at the date the proposed increase in the road user charge is to become effective; and

 (ii) the construction of heavy vehicle rest areas makes reasonably adequate provision for current and future use by high-productivity vehicles; and

   Note: Infrastructure Australia's functions include functions conferred by laws other than its enabling Act paragraph 5(2)(k) of the Infrastructure Australia Act 2008.

 (f) the Transport Minister has released publicly, at least 60 days before making a determination under this section (the public consultation period), the net figure mentioned in subsection (3), all the expenditure figures and revenue estimates, statistics, formulas, methods, models, and inputs used to calculate the net figure, the advice of Infrastructure Australia referred to in paragraph (e) and a statement explaining the reasons for the proposed rate increase, and has called for submissions; and

 (g) the Transport Minister has had regard to submissions received within the public consultation period.

  (3) The arterial road and other expenditure figures provided by the Commonwealth, States and Territories and released in accordance with paragraph (4)(f) must contain a statement of verification by the Auditor-General in the jurisdiction to which the figures relate.

  (4) In this section:

   government expenditure means the amounts of expenditure by the Commonwealth, States, Territories and local governments for a financial year calculated in real terms as averages over a seven-year period using the latest:

 (a) available arterial road expenditure figures provided by each of the States and Territories; and

 (b) local road expenditure information based on Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.

   
government revenue means the total of the amount of revenue expected to be raised by each of the Commonwealth, States, Territories and local governments in the financial year immediately following the date the determination made under this section is to commence.

heavy vehicle means a vehicle with a gross vehicle mass of more than 4.5 tonnes.

Debate ensued.

The question was divided—

Question—That request no. 1 be agreed to—put and passed.

Question—That request no. 2 be agreed to—put and passed.

Question—That request no. 3 be agreed to—put and negatived.

Question—That request no. 4 be agreed to—put and negatived.

Bill further debated and agreed to, subject to requests.

The Interstate Road Transport Charge Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2008 to be reported without requests for amendments and the Road Charges Legislation Repeal and Amendment Bill 2008 to be reported with requests.

The Acting Deputy President (Senator Hutchins) resumed the chair and the Temporary Chair of Committees reported accordingly.

Senator Conroy moved—That the report from the committee be adopted.

Debate ensued.

Question put and passed.

Senator Conroy moved—That the Interstate Road Transport Charge Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2008 be now read a third time.

Question put and passed.

Bill read a third time.