The Western Australian Government has not accepted the new heavy vehicle charges proposed by the National Road Transport Commission.
Transport Minister Pam Beggs today said Western Australia was committed to genuine and lasting reform in the road transport sector
But the Government could not agree to the charging schedule without specific information on the wider reform package that gave adequate reassurances it would mean beneficial reform.
Mrs Beggs said that while significant progress had been made on registration charges for heavy vehicles, they represented only one part of the possible reform picture.
Other issues that needed to be looked at as part of the wider reform agenda included:
· The effects of tax policies generally on the road transport industry even though the commission's schedule had tried to recognise the sales tax component.
· Road funding and the potential plight of the States in the 1990s to fund their roads.
Mrs Beggs said so far the commission had not identified any significant benefits for WA in terms of either road use charging or regulatory reform.
"The State Government cannot reasonably be expected to give its approval to specific propositions for reform where such initiatives do not show the benefits for the State outweigh the costs," she said.
Mrs Beggs said WA could not afford to place additional burdens on the road transport industry that served most of the State's rural and remote areas unless there were other compensations for the benefits of reform.
"We are concerned there is a danger that the proposed schedule of road user charges could become an exercise in uniformity for its own sake," she said.
"Minor benefits in the proposed reforms such as removing the difficulties of state border hopping through uniform charges should not be accepted at the expense of the opportunity for thorough reform that would give benefits to everyone."
Mrs Beggs said this attitude was accepted in part by the commission which had noted changes to heavy vehicle charges alone were unlikely to result in significant improvements to transport efficiency.