Just days after the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) called for the development of a National Operator Standard for heavy vehicle operators, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has slammed the proposal, labelling it a “$3.6 billion tax on freight and jobs”.
In its response to the review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law, the ALC proposed a National Operator Standard, but the ATA said such a decision would impose massive costs on trucking operators.
“Under the ALC proposal, operators would be subject to mandatory electronic recording of driving hours and the location of every heavy vehicle. Every heavy vehicle operator would need to have a safety management system,” said ATA Acting CEO Bill McKinley.
“The proposed standard would also tell businesses how to structure their finances by requiring them to hold a certain – but completely undefined – level of capital.
“The National Operator Standard is just operator licensing under a new name.”
According to McKinley, the ALC failed to provide any numbers on the benefits and costs of its plan.
“In contrast, we have put in the time and money to cost operator licensing. In conjunction with NatRoad, we commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to assess the costs of implementing an operator licensing system,” he said.
“In their independent report, Deloitte Access Economics found that a national operator licensing system would cost $3.6 billion over ten years if it was rolled out nationally – which is what the ALC is proposing – or $3.2 billion over ten years if it was applied to the existing HVNL states.
“A national version of the system would need to cover some 146,900 businesses, comprising about 56,000 hire and reward operators and 90,900 businesses that operate trucks to support their own operations.
“I want to thank NatRoad for their commitment to getting hard numbers on the cost of operator licensing.
“In the ATA’s view, operator licensing would be nothing more than an anti-competitive tax on hardworking small and family businesses,” he said.