EDITORIAL: What do we get for the new charges?

By: Chris Smith

When you hear the word charges, the first thing you think about is how much more do I have to

When you hear the word charges, the first thing you think about is how much more do I have to pay?

Although increased registration fees and the reduced fuel grant will increase operating costs for operators, they don’t appear too bad for the bus and coach industry.

The pay off is greater investment in infrastructure and safety projects. As an industry we need to focus on influencing the spending to promote greater social accessibility, reduce emissions and congestion.

There is always collateral damage however, and for our industry the tour, charter and express operators will be hit hardest by the increased registration fees and road user charge that take effect from July 1, 2008 and January 1, 2009 respectively.

School and route operators will be able to absorb the extra cost within their government contracts.

Road transport operators will pay the extra charge in return for the $70 million Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Package, which will be invested in rest areas, tachograph trials and road infrastructure upgrades.

The bus industry say increased charges should be reflected in increased infrastructure funding by state and federal government, in particular bus related infrastructure projects.

We should also be asking how much of the revenue we can use to pay for safety initiatives including Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) and Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) as a safety imitative for heavy vehicle road users.

The 1.3-cents-a-litre jump in the road user charge to 21 cents follows the recent passing of the Road Charges Legislation Repeal and Amendment Bill in the Senate.

The Bill also allows the ACT to set its own registration fees.

It was passed alongside the Interstate Road Transport Charge Amendment Bill, which will alter fees under the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive the ABC e-newsletter, digital magazine and other offers we choose to share with you straight to your inbox

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook