Monday, 6 March 2023

Shadow Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator Susan McDonald has called on Labor to abandon plans to slug heavy vehicle users with a 10 per cent increase in the Road User Charge, saying the extra costs will be passed on to consumers and worsen cost-of-living pressures on families.

Federal Labor’s proposal to impose a 10 per cent per year increase in fuel taxes and registration charges on the nation’s truckies would cost Australia’s near 50,000 trucking companies an additional $2.6 billion over three years and add to inflationary pressures.

Senator McDonald said the move would be a body blow to transport companies in Northern Australia already struggling with staff shortages, inflation, increased regulation and sub-standard roads.

“It is astonishing that Labor continues to attack those who do most for our economy. This Government has no idea of and no regard for the realities of running a business. Do they honestly believe truckies will just absorb this extra cost and not be forced to pass on the cost to customers?” she said.

“This is especially worrisome for Northern Australia where most freight arrives and leaves by truck, and where much of our truck-using mining and agriculture are located.

“The Bureau of Infrastructure And Transport Research Economics estimates road freight volumes are projected to grow by around 77 per cent between 2020 and 2050, but rather than making it easier for transport companies to grow and meet this demand, we have a Government piling on extra taxes that will be felt by every household in the country.

“Any charge on truckies increases the cost of transporting groceries, livestock and machinery, so we’ll all end up paying more.

“The Coalition will press the Labor Government to scrap these nonsensical plans.”

Labor is currently proposing to increase heavy vehicle road user charges on fuel and truck registration costs by either six per cent per year or 10 per cent per year, for the next three years.

The proposed 10 per cent annual increase to the heavy vehicle road user charge would see the tax truckies pay on fuel jump from the current 27.2 cents per litre up to 36.2 cents per litre by 1 July 2025, according to the National Transport Commission.