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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Industry bodies slam increase to road user charge as operators continue to struggle

Both NatRoad and the VTA have expressed their disapproval of the increased road user charge for heavy vehicles.

Warren Clark of NatRoad says the increase is a cruel blow to operators,

Both the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) and the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) have criticized the decision by transport ministers across the country to increase the road user charge (RUC).

The decision means the RUC will rise for heavy vehicles by six percent over each of the next three years in line with inflation.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says the increase is unconscionable and would sound the death knell for some operators, many of them reportedly running on a profit margin of just 2.5 percent.

“This is a cruel blow to operators already under extreme stress who are desperately trying to stay viable,” Clark says.

“In February, NatRoad called for a freeze on charges next year and for increases in the two financial years after that to be limited to 2.75 percent.

“We note that the ministers say they’ve struck ‘the right balance’ between cost-recovery of and the need to minimize impacts on a vital industry.

“In effect, they’ve given a final push to those businesses that are already teetering on the edge.”

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Clark says the RUC will increase from 27.2ca a liter to 28.8c in 2023-24, jumping to 30.5c and 32.4c in the years after.

Registration costs for a 6-axle articulated truck will go from the current $6,530 (2022-23) to $6,872 (2023-24), and then to $7,236 and $7,621.

VTA CEO Peter Anderson says the transport ministers’ decision to increase the road user charge by six percent clearly shows the inflation genie is still at work putting upward pressure on prices of goods and services in the economy.

“While on the one hand it is disappointing ministers went against the advice of the transport industry for a more measured 2.75 percent increase, the provision of future increases over three years does provide some certainty and will assist operators in setting realistic prices,” Anderson says.

“It’s encouraging that inflation appears to be falling but the increase confirms higher prices will be with us for some time and it’s essential freight operators pass these price rises through the supply chain and onto freight customers and consumers.”

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