NatRoad praises incoming infrastructure policy statement

NatRoad is welcoming the newly unveiled infrastructure statement yet is cautioning the government not to return to more road transport taxes

NatRoad praises incoming infrastructure policy statement
NatRoad is warning the government not to return to more road transport taxes

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has welcomed the direction of the federal government’s Infrastructure Policy Statement, but cautions it should not be used as an excuse for taxing the road transport industry harder.

The Policy Statement was unveiled by federal transport and infrastructure manager Catherine King, flagging a return to the Commonwealth funding projects with the states and territories on a 50:50 basis, rather than 80:20.

It also points at a more strategic approach to infrastructure funding, with fewer projects likely to be supported.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says the association welcomes the government’s aim of taking the politics out of road funding decisions and reigning in cost blow-outs.

"The transport minister has correctly identified that cost blow outs are a significant problem," Clark says.

"There’s an estimated $33 billion in known cost blow outs that must be paid in higher taxes or result in less support for other vital priorities, such as road maintenance.

"We note the government’s assurance that it is not cutting funding from the pipeline but rather seeking to share accountability and get better bang for its buck. Australia can reap a national dividend from strategic investment in infrastructure."

Clark says NatRoad is questioning what the government means by ‘seeking to unlock extra money’ in the statement for future investment, as Clark says this can’t result in new road transport taxes being introduced.

"Governments need more effective infrastructure spending and reforms such as implementing service level standards, and not just end up throwing more money at a broken system," Clark says.

"Higher infrastructure spending and cost blow outs lead to a higher Road User Charge, and trucking companies are already under extreme cost pressures.

"We need to have a conversation about a new Road User Charge and how it will work in the context of decarbonisation."

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