Thursday, 9 February 2006
Truck Registration and Fuel Excise
I rise to make comment on an issue that the Prime Minister and premiers may endorse at the COAG meeting tomorrow—an economic reform program that will include increased truck registration and fuel excise charges. Under the recommendations put forward by the National Transport Commission, the effect in my and Senator Ian Campbell’s home state of Western Australia on operators of triple road trains will be horrendous. Currently, registration for a prime mover pulling triple trailers in Western Australia costs $9,903 per annum. I know that sounds exorbitant, and it is exorbitant. But if COAG agrees to this ridiculous cost impost on the trucking industry tomorrow, the cost for registration of a prime mover will skyrocket to $12,860 by July 2007.
Also, the National Transport Commission proposes a diesel excise increase of 2.1c per litre, increasing triple road train costs significantly. I will just put some sums on the table for the honourable senators who are present. A triple road train running between Perth and the Kimberley and Pilbara region of Western Australia and into the Northern Territory uses on average one litre per kilometre. If the truckies do one trip a fortnight, and a round trip is 9,000 kilometres, it is a simple equation—that is an extra $200 per trip in fuel alone. If they are doing 26 trips per fortnight, the actual increase just in fuel will be about $5,000 per year. If we add that to the proposed $3,000 increase in the registration, it will take the increase in cost for these truckies, and the trucking industry, to around $8,000 each per year.
There is no way around it, unfortunately—that cost will have to be passed on to rural communities, not only in my home state but in every state of Australia. That will certainly push up the cost of living for people in rural and regional Australia who, we all know, are doing it tough as it is. I strongly urge the Prime Minister and the premiers to reject this ridiculous price hike for an industry that more than pays its own way. Some 25 years and 15 kilos ago I had a sticker on the back of my road train. It said ‘Truckies carry this country’. Then there was another sticker that came out. It said ‘Quite frankly, truckies are bloody sick of carrying this country’.