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Action needed on electric vehicle road user charging

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07 August 2019

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has backed calls for the Government to act on road user charging for electric vehicles, following a new report released by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics. 

The ATA and its member associations represent the 50,000 businesses and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry. 

The BITRE report modelling the global and Australian uptake of electric vehicles outlines the beginning of a growth of electric vehicle sales and predicts new electric vehicles will make up eight per cent of new Australian car sales by 2025 and 27 per cent by 2030. 

“Road users contribute to the cost of roads through fuel duty, and as it stands, electric vehicle owners do not pay for the roads they drive on,” ATA Chair Geoff Crouch said today. 

“Although the fleet is small, the time to act on road user charging for electric vehicles is now. 

“The report indicates the window for getting light vehicle road user charging right, while the electric fleet is small, is rapidly closing,” he said. 

Mr Crouch supported comments from Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Rod Sims, who noted the unfairness of some road users not paying their fair share for road use. 

“As the number of electric vehicles increases, the tax burden for road use will continue to shift to regional and suburban families driving petrol vehicles, as well as trucks,” Mr Crouch said. 

“A parliamentary inquiry into electric vehicles heard that this may cost the Federal Budget a billion dollars a year within 10 years. 

“Our roads are critical to our economy and underfunding the future road network will pull the handbrake on our ability to move goods to markets and consumers. 

“The total economic cost of inaction will be far greater than the cost to the Government,” he said. 

Mr Crouch said the ATA is a longstanding advocate for governments to prioritise reforms on how roads are funded.

“These reforms should include better links between road revenue and funding, as well as customer focused service level standards for roads,” he said.