THE Federal Government says it is “closely considering” charging drivers per kilometre they travel in order to pay for roads.
A final report into infrastructure by the Productivity Commission has recommended pilot technical studies of how cars and light vehicles might be charged.
It recommends adopting telematics, which can monitor a vehicle’s location and movements in real time.
“The application of a charging mechanism created by rapidly changing communications technology appears promising,” the report says.
“Importantly, these trials would introduce direct user charges as a substitute for other taxes, such as the fuel excise.”
The report suggests each state and territory hold its own road fund to pay for new roads, upgrades and maintenance.
States and territories would be best placed to decide where money needed to be spent.
Despite Prime Minister Tony Abbott saying in March road-user charging was “unlikely to ever be adopted by any government”, Assistant Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs said the Government was considering all aspects of the report.
Noting the majority of recommendations were relevant to state governments, Mr Briggs said the Government would consult with them before releasing its formal response.
He said issues relating to road-user charging would be considered as part of the Federal Government’s broader reform agenda.
“There are already a number of initiatives on user charging already under way,” Mr Briggs said.
That included consultation with motoring clubs and industry bodies on potential road-user charge models.
The fuel excise is due to rise twice yearly under a Budget proposal, but legislation has not yet passed Parliament.
Source: News Corp. Ltd.