State Governments have quietly slugged caravan owners in recent budget changes with NSW and ACT once again the hardest hit.
Despite having the smallest road network in the country, the ACT remains the most expensive place to own a caravan, with NSW only narrowly behind. In both jurisdictions it costs around $500 each year to take a medium size van on the road.
There is hope in sight however for NSW caravan owners with the State Government flagging possible changes that would dramatically cut costs for some.
Under the new system, the current weight tax would be abolished and registration would instead be calculated using a base fee plus a charge per kilogram.
A Transport NSW discussion paper offers the example of a $50 base fee and 14c per kilo charge. Under this scenario, the cost of registering a 1600 kg caravan would drop by $177 to $274 per annum. If accepted, the new charges could be in place by the end of the year.
The paper admits the changes have been partly forced by NSW caravan owners registering their vehicles interstate to avoid the high charges. Victoria has upped its rates, but still charges a flat annual fee of only $54.
NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the proposal acknowledges caravans are generally used much less than regular passenger vehicles.
There’s no relief in sight however for ACT caravan owners with a Government spokesman ruling out any review.
The spokesman suggested ACT caravan owners had the alternative of registering their vehicles for short periods, of three or six months to avoid the excessive charges.