Truck hike will hit consumers

HEAVY vehicle transport operators will be slugged with massive cost increases from July 1 if lobbyists can't convince the state government to vote against registration cost changes.

The industry faces registration rises following recommendations by the National Transport Commission (NTC) that will see road train and other trailer registration increase by 21 per cent to recover costs from reducing A trailer registration.

Quinn Transport owner Rodney Quinn said this, coupled with a 2.4 cent per litre cut in fuel tax credits, could cost his company up to $135,000 a year more, and could even spell the end for some companies.

"It doesn't encourage you to invest in the future," he said.

The costs will affect trucking companies, farmers and fishers, and will be passed on to customers through freight costs.

Tumby Bay-based D&S Smith Haulage owner David Smith, a past president of the Livestock and Rural Transport Association, said the increase in freight costs would hit local consumers.

"Everything from Weetbix to export commodities to livestock is carried on road trains," he said.

"It will increase the cost of living."

Mr Smith said the hike was revenue-driven and went far beyond cost recovery for road damage.

The Northern Territory had voted against the change because like South Australia, it relied on road trains, while on the flip side Victoria had no road trains.

Mr Quinn said the government was "over-cost-recovering" and would pocket an extra $25 million by implementing the changes, which were being made according to flawed figures.

He is urging truck operators, farmers, fishers, related groups and concerned community members to write to Transport Minister Patrick Conlon lobbying the state government to vote against the changes.

"Pat Conlon has been receptive in the past and he will listen if enough people speak up."

Member for Flinders Peter Treloar has lobbied the issue in parliament.

"It is a shame and it is despicable, and we would have to wonder if this government is not at risk of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs," he said.

A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Pat Conlon said until the next full meeting in May of the Standing Council of Transport and Infrastructure (SCOTI), which includes industry observers, no further amendments could be made.

The minister will however continue to listen to industry concerns about the recommendations provided by the NTC, including the increase in charges for road trains, which he intends to discuss with others ministers in May.