By Staff Writer
Councils across Australia have called for major road reform to ensure that local roads keep up with the demands of freight transport.
Speaking at the Australian Roads Summit 09 in Brisbane, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) president, Cr Geoff Lake, called on the Commonwealth and States to begin trialling incremental pricing.
“Local government supports the need for road funding reform and that is why we support the introduction of incremental pricing,” Cr Lake said.
“The Commonwealth and the states should now get on with finalising the concept and commencing trials.”
Developed by the independent National Transport Commission, incremental pricing would enable truck operators to buy additional weight on a vehicle above the legal limit.
The Council of Australian Governmnts (COAG) agreed to pilot the initiative two years ago, but trials are yet to begin.
Cr Lake said it was now time for the Commonwealth and states to “get on with the job” for the sake of local councils and communities.
“This is an important micro-economic reform and has significant implications for local councils and communities,” he said.
“We hope that incremental pricing is a stepping stone towards full road pricing for heavy vehicles in order to takes some of the increasing road funding burden off ratepayers.”
Cr Lake said local councils managed more than 80 per cent of Australia’s roads but had no guaranteed funding source except council rates revenue.
He said that under the incremental pricing system, freight operators would effectively pay for damage caused to roads and bridges by the additional weight of their trucks.
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