COAG considers fuel-based charging system


The COAG Reform Plan has not ruled out a new fuel-based charging system proposed by the Australian Trucking Association

February 26, 2010

The COAG Reform Plan (CRRP) has not ruled out a new fuel-based charging system proposed by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), CEO Stuart St Clair says.

The ATA and other road user groups met with the CRRP project board last week, to talk about its progress on considering future taxes and charges for truck operators.

CRRP is looking at alternatives to the road user charge and high registration charges currently imposed on the industry.

It is conducting a feasibility study of mass-distance-location pricing, which would involve fitting every truck with a GPS transponder linked back to a road pricing agency. Trucks would be charged on the basis of their weight, the distance they travel and the roads they use.

CRRP is also considering the model proposing by the ATA, fuel-based charging, which would reduce registration charges to $400 per truck or trailer but increase the road user charge paid by operators through fuel taxes. The ATA’s model would also make sure that local governments receive funding to upgrade their roads to handle longer, safer trucks.

St Clair says the meeting was an important chance for the trucking industry to provide its views to the CRRP project board.

"It was clear from the discussion that the CRRP project board will not automatically recommend a charging system involving putting a device on every truck," he says.

"They recognise that mass-distance-location pricing would involve very high compliance and administrative costs. If it doesn’t stack up on a cost benefit basis, they won’t recommend it.

"We also discussed the importance of fixing the supply side, so the right roads get upgraded at the right time. In particular, any future charging system will need to provide local and state governments with incentives to upgrade their roads to provide better access to high-productivity vehicles."

CRRP is due to submit the final report on its feasibility study to governments in December 2011, with an initial assessment of high-level options due by December 2010.

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