Survey finds support for road charging reform

Quarterly transport survey shows most Australians would support a pay-per-kilometre scheme in return for lower registration fees


Most Australians would back the shift to a pay-per-kilometre scheme in return for lower annual vehicle registration fees, the results from a new university survey show.

The University of Sydney’s Transport Opinion Survey found that around 60 per cent of survey participants nationwide favour a combination of a user pays model and registration charges.

However, support is conditional on the total charges being no more than existing registration fees.

The national survey, which is conducted quarterly by the university’s Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS), shows strongest support for reform came from Queensland motorists (67 per cent), while lowest support came from Victoria (57 per cent).

"This shows an appetite for change and is a signal that government should take seriously," ITLS Chair Professor Corinne Mulley says.

When asked how they would like to see any increase in registration fees spent, about 50 per cent of participants nominated improved roads while around 25 per cent wanted upgrades to rail services.

However, while half of all participants expressed a desire for improved roads, they also nominated public transport improvements as the highest priority transport issue for Australia.

"Changing the registration scheme to generate funds for public transport looks like a way forward and one that voters would support," Mulley says.

"It is clear that voters find transport issues important. Even when given the choice of spending additional revenue on non-transport activities, 90 per cent or more chose a transport spend."

Overall, the latest survey found that Australians are less confident about the prospects for improved local transport than they were in the previous survey.

Those surveyed also doubted that transport across Australia will be better in one and five years than it is now.

Mulley says it marks the first drop in community confidence since 2012.

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