Federal push for ‘user pays’ driver charges

As vehicles became more fuel efficient and electric vehicles more popular on our roads, a Federal agency has reiterated its calls for a major overhaul of how roads were funded.

Brisbane, traffic

Infrastructure Australia has again called on governments to reform the current funding system, where revenue was taken from drivers through a fuel tax and car registration, and instead suggested a move towards a ‘user pays’ system.

RACQ spokesperson Paul Turner said while the Club welcomed a fairer approach, drivers should not be used as ‘cash cows’ to top up government coffers.

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“We need to make sure any new distance-based charges are fair. In Queensland, some transport charges have increased by nearly 15 percent in four years,” Mr Turner said.

“As vehicles get more fuel efficient and drivers start to move to electric or hybrid vehicles, the amount of government revenue raised by the fuel excise will decrease.

“Currently we could have someone driving a $200,000 Tesla paying nothing through fuel taxes to improve our roads – that’s unsustainable.”

The Courier Mail reported Infrastructure Australia CEO Philip Davies said the reforms were vital as the use of electric cars in Australia continued to increase.

“We will be collecting less from users, using roads more, and limiting our ability to collect the revenue required to build and maintain our roads.”