ALC wants new body to oversee charging scheme

ALC wants new government body to oversee charging scheme and for governments to be penalised for denying heavy vehicle access

ALC wants new body to oversee charging scheme
ALC wants new body to oversee charging scheme
By Brad Gardner | December 13, 2012

A new charging regime for heavy vehicles should come with a national body providing oversight and with penalties for governments that fail to increase access for trucks, the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) says.

The lobby group has formally responded to the Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment Reform (HVCI) project, which is developing proposed new charging options for the trucking industry to replace the existing model of registration fees and fuel excise.

The HVCI is due to release a regulatory impact statement next year detailing possible options, such as mass-distance-location pricing, and the ALC says it will support the group if its proposals meet a number of key conditions.

These include making sure any new scheme is transparent and improves efficiency and productivity, rules out cross-subsidisation of vehicle classes, and does not discourage the use of higher productivity vehicles.

The ALC says a new body should be set up with responsibility for collection of funds and developing methods to encourage investment in infrastructure.

Its role, the ALC says, should include working with industry to gauge support for dedicated fast lanes, which come with extra charges but also the promise of less congestion.

"Asset owners should be required to provide access on the basis of agreed service levels with the ‘road portfolio manager’, with payments to asset owners that may otherwise be payable reduced where service levels have not been met or where access to infrastructure is denied," the ALC says.

It wants the HVCI to make sure there is rigorous compliance and enforcement to ensure all vehicles are paying their way, and the introduction of incentives for operators who sign up for automated paying arrangements.

"Fundamentally changing the way governments charge for and invest in road infrastructure is a significant microeconomic reform that will have national ramifications across all modes of freight transport," ALC CEO Michael Kilgariff says.

The response also touches on the need for governments to preserve corridors for future development of intermodal terminals and freight precincts and for a commitment that there will still be taxpayer support for roads through initiatives like the Regional Infrastructure Fund.

The ALC believes governments are leaning toward mass-distance-location pricing, which involves the use of GPS trackers and charging trucks based on the weight they are carrying, the distance they travel and the routes they use.

The HVCI was created in July 2012 to build on the work of the COAG Road Reform Plan (CRRP).

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