Transport Minister Catherine King has officially confirmed the return of the fuel tax credits (FTC) later this month, along with an increase in the heavy vehicle road user charge (RUC).
In a media statement released yesterday, King said the RUC for truck operators is going up from 26.4 cents per litre (cpl) to 27.2cpl, an increase of 0.8 from September 29.
But she also said that the cost rise will coincide with a spike in the FTC to 18.8cpl – up from 17.8cpl – that “will offset the impact for heavy vehicle users”.
“The road user charge is intended to recover the greater cost of maintenance and repair as a result of the use of heavy vehicles on our roads,” the statement added.
“The annual change to the heavy vehicle road user charge follows public consultation on the proposed increase which was undertaken by the National Transport Commission (NTC), and commonwealth, state and territory ministers were mindful that an increase needed to be manageable for the industry.”
The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) said that the restoration of the FTC from September 29 cannot come soon enough.
But the long anticipated rise in the RUC is not so welcome and will add to the financial and regulatory burden that is already contributing to the exit of drivers from the road transport industry, said NatRoad CEO Warren Clark.
“This increase in the road user charge is from 26.4 cents per litre and is consistent with the NTC’s recommendations earlier this year,” said Clark.
“While we acknowledge that the 3 per cent rise is less than half the inflation rate for 2021-22, it will still make life tough for truck operators.”
The previous federal government’s halving of fuel excise ends at midnight, September 28, and NatRoad has warned the spike in diesel prices will be significant.
The fuel excise rate is also set to increase from September 29, up from 44.2cpl to 46cpl.
NatRoad has a forthcoming webinar on September 21 to explain the new arrangements to members, and others.
The National Transport Commission is consulting in September-October on heavy vehicle charge setting for 2023-24 onwards.