Study privatisation lessons for road tax reform: Taylor

Isuzu boss warns of severe national economic injury if mistakes are made

Study privatisation lessons for road tax reform: Taylor
Phil Taylor wants clearly articulated approach on changes and implementation


A senior Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) executive has urged legislators to study the outcomes of utility privatisations forensically before making road tax reforms.

IAL director and chief operating officer Phil Taylor warns economic damage could be huge, impacting on a business’ bottom line and, by extension, the livelihoods of countless Australian families associated with the transport sector.

The intervention comes in the face of increasingly strong comments from the Transport and Infrastructure Council about the inevitability of sweeping road pricing reforms.

Taylor believes lessons that will establish a clear path forward as they work towards transforming the provision of heavy vehicle road infrastructure into an economic service.

He believes it is imperative to the national economy that governments clearly articulate their agendas around any reforms to road pricing.   

"At present, over 75 per cent of non-bulk domestic freight is carried on roads in Australia. Disruptions to either the productivity or viability of the transport and logistics sector will have severe implications on broad swathes of society, and effect our national competitiveness," Taylor says.

He adds that, ahead of any discussions about what the transport and logistics sector needs to contribute to the Australian road network, careful consideration needs to be given to how significant the ramifications of policy will be, and how legislative bodies can develop a constructive pathway forward.

"User-pays infrastructure pricing is not without merit. It gives road owners a direct incentive to service the needs of road users," Taylor says.

"As many prominent figures in the freight and logistics sector have already explained, pricing must correlate with the efficiencies it helps create for transport operators."

As well as moving ahead with equitable solutions surrounding road pricing reforms, Taylor hope governments will  act quickly and develop transparent plans around road pricing, so transport and logistics operators could continue their business activities with confidence.

"Rather than a piecemeal approach towards the mammoth issue of road pricing, there needs to be a clearly articulated strategy agreed upon by state and federal governments, so there’s a framework to ensure tomorrow’s road network effectively manages the concerns of all stakeholders, without stifling business operations," he says.

"Australian transport operators should not have to worry about uncertainty or fluctuating road usage costs and how these changes are going to affect their business.

"A clearly articulated approach to how road pricing changes will be implemented, coupled with transparency around how and when costs will come into effect will be integral in ensuring the heavy vehicle sector can operate with as much certainty as possible.

"Uncertainty around any reform will hamper productivity, which is why state and federal governments need to take clear steps to legislate a clearer path forward, so operators in the transport and logistics sector can continue to provide the vital services that every Australian needs access to."

Taylor also encourages other figures within the transport industry to advocate for measured steps towards road pricing reforms.

"The more conversation we can facilitate between industry and government, the better chance we have of working towards an equitable, efficient road network that will continue to meet Australia’s growing freight transport needs," he says.


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