By Angela Dorizas
Local government has called for its share of revenue generated through proposed road user charges.
Delegates at the Australian Local Government Association’s National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Mackay delivered a communiqué on Wednesday, calling for local roads to be included in any move towards road user charges.
ALGA president Cr Geoff Lake said the recommendation follows efforts by COAG and the Henry Tax Review to move towards mass distance charging for trucks and road user taxes.
“There isn’t a consistent view across the sector as to any preferred reform to road tax or how we might charge for road use in the future,” Cr Lake told GovernmentNews.
“But if there is going to be a new regime for taxing road use, then it is critical that local roads are included in any system.
“We won’t accept or we won’t be happy with a system that applies only to state roads.”
Cr Lake said local government was responsible for more than 80 per cent of Australian roads and was “really struggling to keep up with the funding that’s required to maintain that asset”.
“If there is going to be potentially some new revenue sources created off the road system it is very important that local government gets its fair share,” he said.
Cr Lake also called for permanent funding of the Roads to Recovery program.
“It’s a five year program with no commitment past those five years,” Cr Lake said.
“There is obviously a little bit of uncertainty there that we would like to avoid.”
Cr Lake said Roads to Recovery was funded through to 2014, with negotiations on the renewal of the program past that date due to commence next year.
“In an ideal world, from a local government perspective, that would be an ongoing permanent program that didn’t require renewal every five years,” Cr Lake said.
A spokesperson for Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the Roads to Recovery program was essentially a “permanent program” that was unlikely to be abandoned.
He said the five year funding program provided certainty to councils over the amount of federal funding they would receive.
ALGA also called on the Federal Government to work in consultation with the local sector in developing ‘smart’ technologies to measure the condition and performance of local roads and predict when road maintenance is required.
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