Can­berra to launch road user charge in­quiry

Need for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion to iden­tify a more eq­ui­table ap­proach

Australian Transport News - - Contents -

THE FED­ERAL GOV­ERN­MENT

says there is need for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion on road user charg­ing to iden­tify a more eq­ui­table ap­proach that charges users, not tax­pay­ers.

This is one of the 69 rec­om­men­da­tions that the gov­ern­ment “sup­ports” in re­sponse to the first 15-year Aus­tralian In­fra­struc­ture Plan.

The gov­ern­ment has also “noted” six other rec­om­men­da­tions out of In­fra­struc­ture Aus­tralia (IA’s) to­tal 78 rec­om­men­da­tions in its re­sponse re­port re­leased by fed­eral in­fra­struc­ture min­is­ter Dar­ren Ch­ester.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment says it is work­ing with state and ter­ri­tory gov­ern­ments to im­ple­ment these rec­om­men­da­tions, in­clud­ing speed­ing up heavy ve­hi­cle re­form and find out the ben­e­fits, costs and op­tions to im­ple­ment “cost re­flec­tive road pric­ing for all ve­hi­cles”.

“Phase One of the Heavy Ve­hi­cle Road Re­form is now com­plete, and is de­liv­er­ing im­proved trans­parency around road ex­pen­di­ture, in­vest­ment and ser­vice de­liv­ery through the pub­li­ca­tion of heavy ve­hi­cle in­fra­struc­ture as­set reg­is­ters and ex­pen­di­ture plans,” the re­port states.

“The Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment will progress next steps for heavy ve­hi­cle re­form with states and ter­ri­to­ries through the de­vel­op­ment of a for­ward look­ing cost base; and a dis­cus­sion pa­per to in­form con­sul­ta­tion on op­tions for an in­de­pen­dent price reg­u­la­tor.”

The gov­ern­ment plans to launch an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion next year into the po­ten­tial ben­e­fits and im­pacts of road user charg­ing for light ve­hi­cles on road users.

The gov­ern­ment will also un­der­take an in­de­pen­dent in­quiry to ex­am­ine reg­u­la­tory and in­vest­ment bar­ri­ers as well as op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity and ef­fi­ciency of the freight and sup­ply chain net­work.

The in­quiry will find out ways to “im­prove the ca­pac­ity and re­duce the costs of trans­port­ing goods through our ma­jor na­tional con­tainer ports, air­ports and in­ter­modal ter­mi­nals”.

The find­ings aim to help in the de­vel­op­ment of a long-term na­tional freight and sup­ply chain strat­egy for re­form and in­vest­ment.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment also plans to pro­mote its as­set re­cy­cling ini­tia­tive and value cap­ture.

The gov­ern­ment re­it­er­ates its com­mit­ment to im­prove safety and re­gional con­nec­tiv­ity and re­move con­ges­tion on the roads through $50 bil­lion in­vest­ment in on­go­ing projects such as:

• Na­tional Black Spot

Pro­gram • North­ern Aus­tralia’s Beef Roads Pro­gram

• WestCon­nex mo­tor­way scheme in Syd­ney

• In­land Rail be­tween Mel­bourne and Bris­bane.

The re­ports states the gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to ex­am­ine the In­fra­struc­ture Pri­or­ity List as part of its in­fra­struc­ture project assess­ment process.

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