Truck levy plan ‘ef­fec­tively a toll’

Southern Telegraph - - News - David Sal­vaire

The City of Kwinana is locked in a stoush with the State’s trans­port in­dus­try over a de­ci­sion that could see a levy im­posed on heav­ily loaded ve­hi­cles us­ing lo­cal roads.

Last year the City coun­cil voted in favour of a rec­om­men­da­tion that would re­quire con­ces­sional load op­er­a­tors, which are al­lowed a heav­ier axle load, to en­ter into a le­gal agree­ment to pay fees for us­ing Kwinana roads.

The de­ci­sion has raised the ire of in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives, with Western Roads Fed­er­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Cam Dumesny la­belling the move a cash grab.

Mr Dumesny said the in­dus­try was pre­pared to adopt a Statewide so­lu­tion to com­pen­sate lo­cal gov­ern­ments for road main­te­nance costs but he said in­di­vid­ual fees for each mu­nic­i­pal­ity would be a de­ba­cle.

“If we al­low this to con­tinue across the State where we have 138 lo­cal gov­ern­ments, each with their own charg­ing regime, it would be ab­so­lute chaos,” he said. “Ef­fec- tively you’ll have toll roads for ev­ery lo­cal gov­ern­ment area with no con­se­quence for how much it costs to main­tain the roads.

“As an in­dus­try, we’re pre­pared to sit down and have a dis­cus­sion about a Statewide road user charge but at the mo­ment we’ve got the City of Kwinana go­ing off on their own road charge tan­gent.”

City of Kwinana chief ex­ec­u­tive Joanne Ab­biss said the City’s de­ci­sion would re­duce pa­per­work and red tape for busi­ness own­ers and trans­port op­er­a­tors.

“This de­ci­sion pro­vides a clear pol­icy po­si­tion, giv­ing busi­ness own­ers and trans­port op­er­a­tors more cer­tainty in their fu­ture plan­ning,” she said.

Kwinana In­dus­tries Coun­cil di­rec­tor Chris Oughton said more fo­cus should be placed on building bet­ter roads.

“Con­ces­sion­ally loaded trucks have been around for nearly 20 years, and in an in­dus­trial area like Kwinana, they are com­monly used,” he said.

“The roads should be built to carry these loads when they are re­placed or up­graded. We need to be care­ful of un­in­tended con­se­quences here.

“While this is one lo­cal gov­ern­ment that wants to im­pose a perk­ilo­me­tre charge based on a le­gal agree­ment, we have to re­mem­ber that these trucks are driv­ing through many mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

“So in the State con­text, does this means the op­er­a­tors will have to fill out pa­per­work record­ing mileages ev­ery time they pass through a mu­nic­i­pal bound­ary and then re­set it for the next mu­nic­i­pal­ity?”

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