South Australian Government shows leadership on sustainable and fair road funding

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineNovember 12, 2020

The Australian Trucking Association has welcomed the South Australian Government‘s planned introduction of a road user charge for electric vehicles, set to commence from 1 July 2021.  

Responding to the announcement, the ATA highlighted the need for an increased uptake of electric vehicles and has called for continued incentives from governments. 

“Governments should accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles and make hydrogen trucks a commercial reality,” said ATA acting CEO Bill McKinley. 

McKinley said that while fuel duty was in structural decline, revenue was not keeping pace with increases in vehicle kilometres travelled. 

“Road charges used to bring in more revenue than what was spent on roads. Without reform, the structural decline in fuel duty will mean roads need to be subsidised from other revenue, which would impact funds allocated for other priorities such as schools and hospitals,” McKinley said.  

“The burden of paying for roads would be forced onto the general public, even if they don‘t use roads, as well as those who currently don‘t have the ability to use an electric vehicle, especially in rural areas,” he said.  

McKinley said the existing system was not fair.  

“Opponents of an electric vehicle road user charge need to explain what other taxes should be increased or what services will be cut in order to sustainable and fairly fund safe roads into the future.”

McKinley said road user charging was not about reducing electric vehicle uptake.  

“Research shows us the main disincentive to electric vehicle uptake is the upfront price. Governments should work to reduce these barriers,” he said.  

“Even with a road user charge, electric vehicle costs over an average ownership period are likely to be lower than that of petrol and diesel vehicles.”  

The ATA has also called on governments to ensure road user charges for electric heavy vehicles are calculated fairly and transparently.  

“The South Australian electric vehicle road user charge should include heavy vehicles and be set within the existing national system for setting heavy vehicle charges,” McKinley said.  

“Electric trucks are a reality, and the South Australian road user charge must be set in a way which is nationally compatible and does not impose red tape on interstate operators,” he said.  

The ATA and its member associations collectively represent the 50,000 businesses and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry. Together, the ATA and its members are committed to safety, professionalism and viability.