The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) is pleased to respond to the National Transport Commission’s (NTC) consultation regulation impact statement relating to proposed heavy vehicle charges from 2022-23 (CRIS).
NatRoad strongly believes that road charging reform must take into account all road users and provide a better, more equitable system for paying for the costs of road construction.
Until the Heavy Vehicle Road Reform (HVRR) process is implemented, we support a fixed price increase of a 3.5% or CPI increase (whichever is lower) for heavy vehicle charges that provides cost certainty and better equity to the heavy vehicle industry.
Our industry has suffered from the impact of bush fires, floods and now COVID-19, as acknowledged by Transport Ministers. These events and difficult industry conditions have constrained the industry’s ability to cope with increased costs, inclusive of government charges.
In simple terms, the PAYGO model for heavy vehicle charges is broken. It should not be used other than as a 2021-22 baseline on which to calculate future HV charges.
It assumes that all Australia’s roads are sealed when the majority are not. It operates to include all costs incurred in one year in the next year’s charges. Capital and current costs are not separated.
And it results in payments flowing to States and Territories that do not take into account the real cost recovery need for road construction and maintenance as that is related to heavy vehicle usage.
A new model is needed to underpin the HVRR process. In the meantime, a fixed price increase is a better outcome than PAYGO or alternative models.