INDUSTRY body NatRoad has confirmed its opposition to an increase in in both heavy vehicle registration and Road User Charges by 2.5% in 2020-21 and a further 2.5% in 2021-22.

The heavy vehicle charges consultation report released by the National Transport Commission in December 2019 sought industry views on the Transport Ministers Council’s preference for an increase.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark said members were opposed.

“We oppose the suggested increase given the current environment. We thank ministers for reducing the initially proposed increases of over 11% per annum,” Mr Clark said.

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“But we believe the Consultation Report does not take into account the true devastation caused by widespread drought and the ongoing bushfire crisis, let alone the foreshadowed impacts of the coronavirus.”

Mr Clark said heavy rains that followed the bush fire destruction had caused additional delays and stoppages on some road networks.

“Many members have been directly affected, especially where tragic stock losses or destruction of forested and agricultural areas occurred,” he said.

“Local communities were hit hard. Many members have been affected by the need to divert hundreds of kilometres from their usual routes to maintain current contracts.”

Mr Clark said many members lost money because contract provided for a pre-agreed delivery price and this was “no time to be increasing the costs of heavy vehicle operations by increasing the road user charge or registration costs which are effectively taxes”.

If the call to have freeze charges is rejected, NatRoad has recommended any increase occur from 1 July 2021 rather than from 1 July 2020.

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