Councils need direct revenue for roads: HVCI

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi

Vehicle Charging and Investment Reform group backs funding reform and council co-operation

Councils need direct revenue for roads: HVCI
HVCI says councils are struggling with road upkeep

Local governments are prioritising rate payer services over truck services due to the lack of funding they receive from truck road charges, the Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment Reform (HVCI) group says.

It wants councils to establish regional road groups to work on a co-ordinated road provision approach, saying infrastructure bottlenecks on local roads restrict last mile access.

In a submission to the Productivity Commission inquiry into public infrastructure, the HVCI says local government is an important provider of road services and needs to be part of the system.

It believes councils would be more inclined to tackle congestion if they received direct revenue from heavy vehicles.

"The large number of councils would make it extremely difficult for them to participate as individual entities in the reform given the need for road providers to have a strong understanding of future industry demand and drivers of demand as well as interact with the broader planning function as well as the economic regulator," the report says.

"In addition, the number of councils would make the economic regulators task unwieldy.

"HVCI is therefore working with local governments across Australia to develop regional local government groups that better support a coordinated approach to road provision."

Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) Sector Development Consultant John Hennessy has welcomed the call, saying councils would improve local roads for freight vehicles if there were more "equitable funding arrangements in place".

"Currently it is very difficult for councils to fund these access issues on local roads given the very significant infrastructure funding backlog they are facing," Hennessy says.

"It is logical for councils to work in regional groups on freight matters to maximise the effectiveness of regional freight strategies and to ensure a regional network approach is adopted with consistent approaches from the councils involved."

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