AusRAIL, Market Sectors

ARA welcomes Henry Review?s road pricing reforms

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has welcomed the Final Report – Australia’s Future Tax System (the Henry Review) and the Federal Government’s commitment to make infrastructure spending a permanent feature of state and Commonwealth budgets. </span> <p>The ARA was particularly pleased with the Henry Review’s recommendations on road pricing reform.<br />“The Review went a long way in recommending congestion charges on existing tolled roads,”&nbspARA chief exect&nbspsaid.<br />“Traffic congestion is costing Australia $10bn annually and is rising. These costs have a significant impact on the quality of our lives and on our economic competitiveness. <br />“In addition to the above recommendation, the Henry Review also provides other ground-breaking recommendations that, if implemented, would increase productivity and Australia’s competitive position through an efficient land transport sector.<br />“The rail industry strongly supports the recommendations that COAG accelerate the development of mass-distance-location pricing for heavy vehicles as well as an additional charge to be applied to heavy vehicles on routes where road freight is in direct competition with rail, as the railway is required to recover its infrastructure and other capital costs.”<br />The ARA believes the&nbsprecommendations are “sensible” and will bring about the efficient allocation of the freight task between transport modes.<br />“Heavy vehicles are currently undercharged in Australia,” Nye said.<br />“The current pricing regimes undercharge some heavy vehicle types and usage, notably high utilisation vehicles, which results in cross-subsidies and under-recovery of costs.<br />“The government is still to make announcements on the implementation of the road pricing reforms. The reforms are well overdue and the rail industry encourages the Federal, State and Territory Governments through COAG to commit to a timeline to implement these recommendations from the Henry Review.”<br />In response to the Review, the Federal Government has committed to make infrastructure spending a permanent structural feature of State and Commonwealth budgets through a new ongoing infrastructure fund with annual contributions starting at $700 million from 2012-13.<br />&nbsp</p>