Jun 26, 2012

Truss Hits New Lows, Knocking Back His Own Policy

The Leader of the Nationals has no shame.

Warren Truss’ attempt to disallow proposed changes to the Road User Charges shows the Coalition has reached new lows of deception.

The policy of full cost recovery along with the formula used to determine the road user charge which is paid by trucking operators was first put in place by the former Howard Government and the then Transport Minister Mark Vaile, who at the time was also the Leader of the National Party. 

Mark Vaile announcing the policy in 2007:

“We endorsed the need to implement a phased approach to the reform of heavy vehicle charging arrangements.


“The National Transport Commission will develop a new heavy vehicle charges determination to be implemented from 1 July 2008.  The new determination will aim to recover the heavy vehicles’ allocated infrastructure costs in total and will also aim to remove cross-subsidisation across heavy vehicle classes.”


Supported by all Coalition state governments, the latest annual adjustment simply reflects the fact that this Labor Government has more than doubled the Federal roads budget.

It’s astonishing that we’ve now reached the absurd situation whereby the Federal Coalition is criticising us for having done nothing more than retaining and implementing their policy.

If Mr Truss truly believes what he’s now claiming then why as a senior Cabinet Minister in the former government did he support the policy which we are now simply implementing?

It’s time for Mr Truss to ditch the deception and support a policy written by his own party.


As well as extra spending on the nation’s highways, the trucking industry and the people who work in it will also benefit from the following Labor reforms:

  • Replacement of the existing array of costly and confusing state-based regulations with a national regulator and one-set of nation-wide laws;
  • Creation of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal with the powers to set pay and conditions to make sure drivers get a fair go (begins on 1 July 2012); and
  • Establishment of the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program, the first of its kind at the Federal level which is funding projects aimed at improving safety and productivity for the heavy vehicle industry. Last month’s Budget committed an additional $140 million to extend the Program. The additional funding will build on the 236 projects already delivered including 95 new or upgraded rest areas and 45 new or upgraded parking/decoupling bays.