Will Hunter, Yorke Peninsula Country Times
Trucking businesses across the country will have less money in their wallets following the federal government’s budget announcement to raise the heavy vehicle road user charge.
The road user charge, designed to cover the greater cost of maintenance to roads due to heavy vehicle traffic, applies to each liter of diesel consumed by heavy vehicles on public roads.
From June 1, the current rate of 27.2 cents per liter of diesel will increase until it reaches 32.4 cents by the 2025-26 financial year.
The decision to increase the charge was made jointly by state, federal and territory transportation ministers and is expected to save the government $1.1 billion over four years.
This comes amid a period of high inflation and record high diesel costs experienced by operators over the past year.
Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said the change would disproportionally affect regional Australians who relied heavily on trucking for the delivery of goods.
He said it was unconscionable for truck drivers to be lumped with an increase to the road user charge despite there being no significant investment back into road infrastructure.
“I’m really disappointed there is no money at all for major road expenditure over the four years,” he said.
“To add insult to injury, they’re adding an extra tax onto truck drivers which will feed through to everything.” Kadina Freight Service, which transports goods across Yorke Peninsula, Clare Valley, Lower Mid North and greater Adelaide regions, is one of many local transport providers which will be faced with a significant increase to their fuel costs in June.
Manager Brenton March said the implications of the rise would be colossal across the business’s fleet of heavy vehicles.
“We use about 1000 liters of diesel a day,” Mr March said.
“The impact of a six percent rise per annum is massive, it’s something you can’t absorb.
“The cost of living is already high, but this will simply drive it up further.
“The YP is extremely reliant on trucking as we don’t have air or rail — everything is brought in by some sort of road vehicle.”