Bills Digest no. 41 2008–09
Interstate Road Transport Charge Amendment Bill (No.2) 2008
This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as
introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest
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Contact officer & copyright details
25 September 2008
Portfolio: Infrastructure, Transport, Regional
Development and Local Government
Sections 1 to 3 on Royal
Assent, Schedule 1 on a date fixed by Proclamation or the day after
a six month period after Royal Assent.
relevant links to the Bill, Explanatory Memorandum and second
reading speech can be accessed via BillsNet, which is at http://www.aph.gov.au/bills/.
When Bills have been passed they can be found at ComLaw, which is
To amend the
Interstate Road Transport Charge Act 1985 to increase the
registration charges for heavy vehicles registered under the
Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS) and to take account
of concerns expressed during the debate of the Interstate Road
Transport Charge Amendment Bill 2008 through the Senate in March
The current Bill takes account of concerns
expressed during the debate of the Interstate Road Transport Charge
Amendment Bill 2008 in the Senate. That Bill was defeated
in the Senate on 19 March 2008. This Bills Digest will discuss the
new provisions contained in the current Bill that take account of
those concerns. See the bills digest on the Interstate
Road Transport Charge Amendment Bill 2008 for the full
discussion on the provisions of the Bill generally.
The second reading speech of the Minister for
Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local
Government, Hon Mr Anthony Albanese stated that the Bill addresses
key concerns raised in March 2008, namely that the Australian
government should not be required to implement registration charges
only agreed by the Australian Transport Council.  Concerns were raised during the
debate in the Senate that the way in which the provision was
phrased in the first Bill would in effect restrict the Commonwealth
from dissenting from decisions of the Ministerial Council and would
be unable to determine in its own right the charges that should
apply to Commonwealth registered vehicles.  In the current Bill this provision has
been amended to make it much less restrictive. This new Bill
provides the Australian Government the flexibility to implement
heavy vehicle charges for FIRS registered vehicles that are
consistent with the Government s road transport reform agenda.
The Explanatory Memorandum states that there
is no net impact on the Australian Government budget flowing from
this amendment. All revenue from FIRS charges is returned to the
state or territory governments under an agreed distribution formula
that accounts for road usage by FIRS heavy vehicles.
The provisions dealt with
here are the major provisions which differ from the previous Bill.
See the Interstate
Road Transport Charge Amendment Bill 2008 for discussion of the
remaining provisions of the current Bill which have not
Item 6, proposed subsection
5(6) provides that regulations made under section 5 must
not take effect until after the disallowance period under Part 5 of
the Legislative Instruments Act 2003. This provision removes
the restrictive words that regulations must
implement the national charge agreed by the Australian Transport
Council that appeared in the first Interstate Road Transport Charge
Amendment Bill 2008. The provision in the first Bill read as
Section 5(4) Regulations made for the purposes
of this section must implement the national charge imposed on the
registration of heavy vehicles, and any adjustment process of that
charge, that is agreed by the Australian Transport Council.
Item 7 repeals both existing
section 5A - Automatic increase of amounts
of charge and existing section 6 -
Regulations may decrease amounts of charge.
Section 5A dealt with changes determined in accordance with the
schedule of the Interstate Road Transport Charge Act 1985,
including changes made by the application of section 5A or
regulations made for the purposes of section 6 which could decrease
the amount of the charge.
Item 10(1) is an applications
provision. It provides that charges calculated under the old
section 5 will continue to apply after the commencement of the
current provisions until regulations made under the new section 5
come into force.
13 October 2008
Bills Digest Service
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