Government accepts Harper Review recommendation on road pricing

Media Release

PF041/2015

24 November 2015

In its response to the Harper Review, the Turnbull Government today announced that it will accelerate work with states and territories on heavy vehicle road reform and investigate the benefits, costs and potential next steps of options to introduce cost reflective road pricing for all vehicles.

“The principle of moving towards cost reflective road pricing is an important one—offering the promise over time of roads which flow more freely and better meet the needs of road users,” said Major Projects Minister Paul Fletcher.

“It is important that road pricing does not involve improving higher overall charges on road users, as the Harper Review specifically noted—hence its recommendation that any introduction of direct road pricing should be accompanied by reductions of indirect charges and taxes on road users.

“There is still a lot of work to do on understanding what impacts road pricing will have on all users of the road system, and the broader economy,” Mr Fletcher said.

Mr Fletcher noted that there is significant work underway around Australia concerning road pricing. For example, there is work being done on heavy vehicle pricing under the oversight of the Transport and Infrastructure Council of Federal, state and territory transport ministers; the next step will be to report to COAG including on steps to transition to independent heavy vehicle price regulation by 2017–18.

The Transport and Infrastructure Council will also investigate the benefits, costs and potential next steps of options to introduce cost reflective road pricing for all vehicles, building on the heavy vehicle road reform.

In South Australia, the Commonwealth and South Australian governments have agreed to establish a joint working group to oversee a simulation charge trial that will test the logic, fairness and structure of alternative road user charging.

The trial will go some way towards collecting the necessary data to consider how existing truck revenue can be collected more fairly and invested more efficiently in our transport network.

In Western Australia, the Perth Freight Link will involve distance-based user charging arrangements for trucks, using satellite technology.