The City of Kwinana includes most of the Western Trade Coast industrial district.

Kwinana fee a red light for truckers

Monday, 5 February, 2018 - 15:58

A new road usage charge to be levied on certain heavy vehicles by the City of Kwinana has drawn the ire of Western Roads Federation chief executive Cam Dumesny, who says it is another example of a local government imposing additional costs and red tape on the trucking industry.

The council passed the levy, called an ‘accelerated pavement depreciation fee’, for certain heavy vehicles last December, charging up to 0.73 cents per tonne per kilometre of local roads travelled.

Heavy vehicle operators  with concessional loads using roads in the Western Trade Coast area are subject to the levy on the basis that those vehicles create higher road maintenance requirements.

The city has the authority to approve certain truck movements under the state government’s new Accredited Mass Management Scheme for heavy vehicles, with only companies that agree to pay the new charge given the green light by council.

Under the policy, the city’s chief executive will negotiate agreements with trucking businesses.

Mr Dumesny said the move came as a surprise given the minimal industry consultation, and he called for the state government to intervene before other councils made similar moves.

He also questioned whether the council had a legal basis to be able to levy such a fee.

“Kwinana is basically implementing a toll on heavy vehicles, no matter which way they slice and dice it, it’s basically introducing toll roads into WA,” Mr Dumesny said.

A number of councils in the Goldfields are looking to introduce similar charges, he said.

The City of Kwinana did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the agenda from December’s meeting sets out the council’s thinking.

“The consequence of (road pavement overloading) is accelerated pavement degradation and increased wearing course fatigue,” the document said.

“While the transport operator ... gets an economic benefit from the use of (the new scheme), the general ratepayer is picking up the cost.”

Nonetheless, the charge was emblematic of wider issues the trucking community faced from local government, Mr Dumesny said, with town planners providing limited loading bays, and residents calling for limits on truck movements, including garbage trucks.

Ultimately that was going to be in conflict with consumer demand for more varied products, which grew the freight task, he added.

“We have a ridiculous situation occurring where communities want greater variety, they want fresh produce and that has to be delivered, (while) at the same time they don’t want commercial vehicles, even our light fleets, delivering it,” Mr Dumesny said.

“Local governments are just disconnected.

“Not just here in Perth, this is a growing frustration nationally for the whole industry.”

There were positives, however, with the City of Perth being one council moving towards being more practical and engaging, he said.