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The federal government is holding off raising the heavy vehicle road user charge (RUC) in the coming financial year.
Industry groups welcome the move announced jointly by deputy prime minister and transport minister Michael McCormack and freight transport assistant minister Scott Buchholz in recognition of the Covid-19 pandemic economic challenge.
"The Road User Charge, which is set to recover the heavy vehicle share of road maintenance and improvements, will stay at 25.8 cents per litre for diesel in 2020-21 instead of increasing by the scheduled 2.5 per cent," McCormack says.
"Our response today demonstrates our commitment to supporting the heavy vehicle industry as we put Australia in the best position possible to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak.
"Australia’s heavy vehicle industry is crucial to sustaining our economy and distributing critical goods during the Covid-19 pandemic. This freeze will ease some of the current pressures on the industry.
"It is so important we help maintain the supply and flow of medicines and medical equipment and food and essential items to our supermarket shelves at this time. Road freight is absolutely critical to this."
Buchholz underlines that all levels of government are continuing to work together, along with industry and regulators such as the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, to minimise any unnecessary barriers to freight movement.
"Following the closure of some state and territory borders, the federal government has been coordinating national action to make sure essential workers who aren’t travelling in trains or trucks such as safety inspectors, mechanics and maintenance crew, are able to get to where they need to be with limited disruptions," he says.
He adds that the federal government acknowledges the transport sector has had two speeds during the pandemic.
"There are those that have been working relentlessly with greater amounts of freight to move, while many other operators across the supply chain have experienced the opposite and suffered as a result of Covid-19," Buchholz says.
"These measures go some way in demonstrating all levels of Government recognise the pressure on the transport industry at this time."
This article first appeared on www.fullyloaded.com.au
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