ATA decries truck depreciation proposal

Stuart St Clair, chief executive of the ATA.

The Business Tax Working Group’s proposal to remove the statutory effective life caps on trucks and trailers would encourage trucking businesses to keep older trucks on the road for longer, said the chief executive of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), Stuart St Clair.

In a recent discussion paper, the Business Tax Working Group proposed removing the statutory effective life caps for a range of assets, including trucks and trailers. This would mean trucking businesses that do not self-assess the effective lives of their vehicles would be required to depreciate trucks and trailers over 15 years rather than the current 7.5 years for trucks and 10 years for trailers.

According to the ATA, the working group’s proposal would remove the incentive for businesses to upgrade their older trucks to safer and more environmentally friendly models.

“Every new generation of trucks is safer than the last, with front underrun protection, stronger cabs and technology like adaptive cruise control, electronic braking and lane keeping support,” Stuart said. “That’s why the Australian government’s national road safety strategy calls for ‘a substantial increase in the proportion of heavy vehicles with advanced braking systems and other safety technologies’ by 2020.

“In addition, every new generation of trucks is more environmentally friendly than the last. A new truck, bought today, puts out only 25 percent of the nitrogen oxides and just 8.3 percent of the particulate matter emitted by a new truck bought in 1994.

“The working group’s proposal would remove the tax incentive for trucking businesses to keep upgrading their fleets. They would keep their older trucks, and Australia would miss out on the safety and environmental benefits of having new trucks on the road sooner.

“The ATA fought hard in 2004 to get the statutory effective life caps on trucks and trailers. The issues haven’t changed. We are now going to take up the fight with equal vigour again,” St Clair concluded.


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