All Eyes on Today's Federal Budget

The Coalition government will present their first Federal Budget on May 13th following their victory in September’s national election. With public discourse centred around the realities of the Coalition’s insistence on a “Debt Crisis” the transport and logistics industry has reason to be very interested in the budget.

The recently released National Commission of Audit has issued a number of recommendations that are likely to be adopted by the government, who commissioned the report, in the budget although Treasurer Joe Hockey was careful to point out it is “not the budget”.

Among the Transport and Logistics significant recommendations highlighted in the over 900 page report include the abolishment of the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme and a review into the NTC to determine if and when this body should cease operations, recognising that significant progress has been made with the establishment of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator.

The Commission further recommends that the Commonwealth work with the States to develop mass-distance-location charging reforms. Over time, these reforms the commission argues should  be extended to universal road user charging for all vehicles to the maximum extent possible.

In South Australian related recommendations the Commission of Audit calls for the privatisation of Adelaide based and Federal Government owned Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) currently estimated to be worth more than $4 billion.    

Treasurer Hockey is hoping to stimulate a new wave of infrastructure spending fuelled by a similar $10 billion in State owned asset sales. With seemingly incompatible calls for increased Infrastructure spending coupled with actions to lower national debt, the T&L Industry will look to May 13th with keen interest.