Road user charging a must for future: RACQ

The State’s peak motoring body has reiterated its calls a road user charging scheme be introduced as it would improve the efficiency and equity of road pricing into the future.

Brisbane Times reported Transurban Chief Executive Scott Charlton said as road funding sources declined with the adoption of electric vehicles, the need for road user charging would significantly increase.

RACQ Head of Public Policy Rebecca Michael said the Club had long campaigned for road user charging as it meant costs to motorists would become fairer, regardless of where they lived.

“If we don’t have these conversations now and start designing a user pays system proactively, we risk creating a system that exacerbates inequity,” Dr Michael said.

“Motoring taxes and charges impact those on lower-incomes who have no access to public transport, or people in the regions who generally have further distances to drive to get to essential places and services – but if we get to work now, we can design an equitable system.”

Dr Michael said drivers already paid their fair share and this form of charging should replace existing taxes like the fuel excise and fixed charges like registration.

“The Federal Government needs to get serious about tax reform in this area. The Henry Tax Review, the Harper Review, the Productivity Commission and Infrastructure Australia all agree that fuel excise is unsustainable, and in need of replacement with a user pays road funding model,” she said.

“We believe it should be introduced now for non-fuel-based vehicles at a low rate which can be increased in the years ahead to offset the reduction in fuel excise and ensure equity when it comes to road users contributing to the cost and upkeep of roads. “