New truck charges on the agenda in South Australia

By: Paul Howell

SA premier says per-kilometre charges may be required to fund new road infrastructure.

New truck charges on the agenda in South Australia
The SA Government is considering introducing new truck charges to fund road infrastructure projects.


The South Australia Government is considering a raft of new transport charges for heavy vehicles using its road network. 

Options being considered include per-kilometre or per-road network charges for trucks.

In a discussion paper expected to be released today, the Government urges a rethink of ways to fund infrastructure projects.

Premier Jay Weatherill says toll roads are not an effective mechanism and are unlikely to be introduced in SA.

But he says the Government still needs interstate-registered vehicles, trucks in particular, to contribute to new road spending.

"We have the road transport industry calling for us to make substantial investments in our road infrastructure that obviously have to be financed, and we believe that the more efficient way of doing this would be to explore network charges," Weatherill says.

"That is the trucks that use our road networks being charged according to their kilometre-use [and/or] their tonnage."

That first step has been met with solid opposition from the trucking industry and the opposite side of state politics.

SA Road Transport Association (SARTA) executive director Steve Shearer told the ABC it would be impossible to introduce network road pricing fairly.

"We're happy to contribute something that equals our cost savings by having a smoother-flowing road with fewer stops and starts because we will save money if we can keep the truck moving instead of stopping at 100 sets of traffic lights," he says.

Opposition leader Steven Marshall says SA is already the highest-taxed state in Australia and that the Government should be reducing the overall burden on road users.

Meanwhile, SA transport minister Stephen Mullighan has been pushing for a national approach to heavy vehicle inspections, particularly in light of fatal crashes on the South Eastern Freeway as it approaches Adelaide.

"It is very important that we now move quickly to put in place national reforms that will continue to improve safety on the freeway and of the state’s road network," he says.

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