Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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Select Legislative Instrument 2009 No. 26


Issued by Authority of the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government



Interstate Road Transport Charge Act 1985


Interstate Road Transport Charge Regulations 2009


Section 7 of the Interstate Road Transport Charge Act 1985 (IRTCA) provides, in part, that the Governor-General may make regulations for the purposes of section 5. Section 5 provides for the amount of annual charge for the registration of heavy vehicles under the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS). The section provides that the amount of charge is the amount calculated in accordance with regulations.


The Interstate Road Transport Act 1985 and Interstate Road Transport Regulations 1986 provide for the operation of FIRS vehicles, and the IRTCA and the Interstate Road Transport Charge Regulations 2006 (the Principal Regulations) provide for the registration charges for those vehicles.


The Regulations repeal the Principal Regulations to introduce a new framework of registration charges and annual adjustment mechanisms.


FIRS provides a voluntary national registration scheme for heavy vehicles engaged solely in interstate trade. The States and Territories administer FIRS on behalf of the Australian Government. All revenue from the charges for FIRS vehicles is distributed to the States and Territories according to a distribution formula tied to road use in each jurisdiction. FIRS legislative arrangements require that all of this money is spent on the maintenance of roads.


The purpose of the Regulations is to implement the national registration charge elements of the 2007 Heavy Vehicle Charges Determination (the 2007 Determination) for application to FIRS vehicles. The 2007 Determination revises national charges for heavy vehicles and trailers. The effect of the new charges is to remove the current cross-subsidisation of larger heavy vehicles by smaller heavy vehicles and to ensure that all heavy vehicles pay their share of road construction and maintenance costs.


Included in the 2007 Determination is a new annual adjustment process which is applied to FIRS vehicles in the Regulations. The annual adjustment process provides for continued cost recovery for damage caused to roads by heavy vehicles. The new charges in the Determination result in decreases in registration charges for 25% of heavy vehicles and increases of no more than 10% for 69%. For the remaining 6%, being heavy truck trailers and multi-combination vehicles that are currently subsidised by smaller vehicles, there are significant increases, which are being phased in over three years. All monies from FIRS’ registrations is returned to the states and territories for expenditure on road maintenance.



The application of the new charges to FIRS vehicles make charges for FIRS heavy vehicle registration consistent with the revised charges which were implemented by all states on

1 July 2008. The Northern Territory implemented the new charges on 22 December 2008 and the Australian Capital Territory is working towards implementing them as soon as associated legislative arrangements are in place. It is expected that the new national charges will be in place in all jurisdictions by the end of 2009, achieving national consistency.


The 2007 Determination was developed by the National Transport Commission (NTC) and unanimously agreed by Australian Transport Council (ATC) Ministers on
29 February 2008 as part of the national road transport reform agenda agreed under the Inter-Governmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational Reform in Road, Rail and Intermodal Transport. The 2007 Determination implements the Council of Australian Governments’ request to fully recover the costs of the provision of the road network to the heavy vehicle industry and achieves this across all heavy vehicle categories.


A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) has been completed by the NTC and approved by the Office of Best Practice Regulation as part of the process of making the 2007 Determination. An extensive public consultation process was undertaken on the draft Regulatory Impact Statement. This process involved written submissions, provision of industry briefings and a series of focus group consultations with industry, trade unions, state and territory governments, peak industry associations and freight customers. As a result of the consultations, the NTC made a number of changes to its recommendations, which were discussed with industry and jurisdictions.


The Regulations are a legislative instrument for the purposes of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003.


The Regulations commence after 56 days following the end of the period in which they may be disallowed under Part 5 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003. The Regulations are required to be laid before each house of Parliament for 15 sitting days, during which motions of disallowance may be moved. The delayed commencement provisions allow time for state and territory registration authorities to implement the new charges into their administrative arrangements and to advise operators at least six weeks ahead of the new charges taking effect.


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