WA hints at freight charges for trucks

By: Paul Howell


A line in a parliamentary report sparks wider debate on transport costs.

WA hints at freight charges for trucks
The Western Australia Government has hinted at freight charges for heavy vehicles.

 

Western Australia’s parliamentary secretary for transport has brushed aside suggestions the State Government plans to place tolls on two of Perth’s key freeways.

Jim Chown does, however, leave the door open to charging the freight industry specifically for the additional impact of heavy vehicles on those roads.

"I will state in this house right now that I am against any form of toll," he told WA Parliament last week.

"However, I support ‘efficiency dividends’ or maintenance requirements for heavy transport."

He notes that such charges are already operating along specific heavy haulage routes in the north of WA.

Chown’s defence was forced after he submitted a report on a parliamentary trip to Greece.

That notes that Greece has had a ‘user-pays’ ideology for its major roads since 1927.

Chown says the practice "is one that I believe requires further consideration in WA".

Opposition spokesman on transport Ken Travers says any additional impost on freight will weigh heavily on south-western grain growers in particular.

Many have already had to switch to more expensive road transport options after railway lines in that region were closed.

"One does not have to be a Rhodes Scholar to work out the government’s agenda here," he told WA Parliament.

"They are closing the rail lines to make it more expensive, to see the transfer onto trucks.

"The end result of all that will be that farmers in Western Australia will have to pay more to get their grain to port.

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