Bills Digest No. 192 1997-98 Interstate Road Transport Charge Amendment Bill 1998

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This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.


Passage History
Main Provisions
Concluding Comments
Contact Officer & Copyright Details

Passage History

Date Introduced: 2 April 1998

House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Transport and Regional Development

Commencement: On Royal Assent.


To amend the Interstate Road Transport Charge Act 1985 (the Principal Act) to provide for a formula for setting charges for registering vehicles for less than one year under the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme.


At the 1991 Special Premiers Conference, Heads of Government signed an Inter-governmental Agreement establishing a national heavy vehicle registration, regulation and charging scheme. The focal point of the scheme was the establishment of the National Road Transport Commission (NRTC) to recommend nationally uniform heavy vehicle regulations and to develop a heavy vehicle charging scheme. Recommendations by the NRTC are provided to a Ministerial Council for Road Transport for deliberation.

After much consideration by the NRTC and debate amongst jurisdictions, a nationally uniform registration system was finally implemented when, on 1 October 1996, Tasmania was the last State to adopt the Commission's recommended heavy vehicle registration charges.

Interstate road freight operators can choose to register their vehicles under the Federal Interstate Road Transport Scheme (FIRS) or under State registration arrangements.(1) Where vehicles are registered under FIRS, the fees paid are refunded to the States to assist with road cost recovery. The States administer FIRS on behalf of the Commonwealth.

Currently the Schedule of registration charges applicable to FIRS registered vehicles only makes reference to annual fees. However, in 1995, sub-Regulation 27(c), made pursuant under the Principal Act, was inserted to enable vehicles to be registered for a period shorter than one year. The current Bill provides a formula which enables a registration fee to be calculated as a pro rata amount of the annual fee for the number of days of registration sought.

Main Provisions

Item 2 of the Schedule to the Bill inserts, after subsection 5(1) of the Principal Act, a formula which enables a registration fee to be calculated as a pro rata amount of the scheduled annual fee for the number of days of registration sought.

Concluding Comments

The provisions of this Bill will ensure that FIRS registered vehicles are not disadvantaged relative to State registered vehicles, especially since both the Commonwealth and the States have endorsed, through the Ministerial Council for Road Transport, the provision of short registration periods as one of the initiatives of the Second Heavy Vehicle Reform Package currently being facilitated by the National Road Transport Commission.


  1. A description of FIRS may be found in the accompanying Bills Digest for the Interstate Road Transport Amendment Bill 1998.

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Denis James
7 May 1998
Bills Digest Service
Information and Research Services

This paper has been prepared for general distribution to Senators and Members of the Australian Parliament. While great care is taken to ensure that the paper is accurate and balanced, the paper is written using information publicly available at the time of production. The views expressed are those of the author and should not be attributed to the Information and Research Services (IRS). Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion. Readers are reminded that the paper is not an official parliamentary or Australian government document.

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ISSN 1328-8091
© Commonwealth of Australia 1998

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Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1998.

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