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NRTC [National Road Transport Commission] releases draft heavy vehicle charges for comment.

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Embargoed until 11.00am, Thursday, 20 August 1998





Registration fees for over 80 percent of Australia's 335,000 heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonnes woul d not change or would drop under proposed heavy vehicle charges released for comment by the National Road Transport Commission today.


The proposed charges reflect a 17 percent increase in arterial road spending, changes in use of heavy vehicles and other changes, since the charges were first determined by the Commission in 1992 and implemented nationally in 1996.


The Commission is required under Inter-Governmental Agreements to set charges to recover the costs attributed to heavy vehicles. These costs are currently estimated nationally at $1,390 million per annum.


A registration charge is specified for each different vehicle type after taking into account a fuel charge (currently 18 cents of the present 35 cents per litre diesel excise).


The proposals are detailed in a draft Policy Paper issued for comment until 9 October 1998. Any changes to current charges would not occur before July 1999.


"Because of higher road spending, much greater travel by articulated trucks, and other factors since 1992, the additional costs need to be recovered from heavy vehicles to achieve cost recovery for the road transport sector as a whole," NRTC Chairman, Stuart Hicks said.


The Commission proposes that this be recovered by increasing the registration charge for some vehicles.


"Under the current charges, operators of rigid trucks are paying too much while operators of articulated trucks, which travel the greatest distances and cause the greatest costs, aren't paying enough.


"To correct situation, the Commission proposes that registration charges for most rigid trucks - the great majority of the truck fleet - stay the same, that charges for light truck-trailers reduce significantly, and that the heaviest articulated vehicles pay up to 25 percent more."


The draft Policy Paper also discusses consideration of lower charges for vehicles that travel low kilometres, and proposes solutions to a number of inconsistencies in the charges for certain vehicle types.


Charges for vehicles that operate at the higher mass limits proposed by the NRTC are not recommended at this stage, as the bridge expenditure necessary for higher limits has not yet been incurred.


Mr Hicks stressed that feedback on the proposals was important and would be considered carefully before final recommendations were made to Transport Ministers in November 1998.


"The draft charges are in no way final and could be modified by further analysis and comment, supported by additional evidence."


Meetings are planned for every capital city over the next month to explain the proposals and to seek comment on specific issues. Details of the dates and venues will be available from the Commission shortly.


Mr Hicks said that the Commission plans to review the charges more regularly in future and would be investigating the potential to levy charges based on actual road use, using intelligent transport systems technology.


The Commission would also review the charges should current taxation arrangements change.


Copies of the Policy Paper, an information bulletin and a more detailed Technical Report, are available from the Commission on phone (03) 9321 8444, fax (03) 9326 8964, by writing to PO BOX 13105 LAW COURTS VIC 8010 or on the Commission's web site:


A table illustrating the draft updated charges is attach ed.


Media inquiries:

Mac Henshall, (03) 9321 8403