The path to reform may be challenging
As is the case with most major reform programs, we expect the path ahead will be challenging. That said, we are now in a unique position with the coming transport technology revolution providing, potentially, a real catalyst for the creation of a sustainable, fair and flexible funding future.
INFORMATION AND AWARENESS
We now know that transparency and awareness building are key to generating community support for reform and believe a practical measure that could easily increase awareness would be to itemise fuel-excise charges on petrol and diesel dockets, and to provide road-funding information on registration and licensing fee receipts. The Australian Automobile Association has called for this action in the past and we are adding our voice now.
CREATING A CLEAR PATH FOR REFORM
With all three levels of government involved in transport infrastructure funding and planning, a cooperative and collaborative approach to reform discussion is critical to long-term success. We believe a staged approach, allowing the existing system to progressively phase out alongside the gradual introduction of a new model, would deliver an effective transition.
SYSTEM DESIGN – FAIRNESS AND EQUITY
As our study participants highlighted, any new system must be fair and equitable, with well-designed protections in place for vulnerable groups within our communities. Similarly, any new system can only be developed out of a deep understanding of the unique transport practices and needs of different road users across metropolitan and rural areas of our country.
With the arrival of new transport technologies, we have an opportunity to design and lay the foundations for the kind of transport system that will support our communities.
The study demonstrated that technologies available today present potential solutions to support a broad-based user-pays road-charging system. Scaling up the capabilities and preparing for broad-based implementation will require the coordinated efforts of stakeholders in various industries including automotive, technology, and telecommunications to ensure appropriate standards and application for Australia.