Wednesday, 25 June 2014
Excise Tariff Amendment (Fuel Indexation) Bill 2014, Customs Tariff Amendment (Fuel Indexation) Bill 2014, Fuel Indexation (Road Funding) Bill 2014, Fuel Indexation (Road Funding) Special Account Bill 2014; Second Reading
I see that the member for Hunter agrees with me. As a great advocate for the mining industry and agriculture, I am sure he agrees with me. It is critical that we move towards more direct hypothecation, as we are in this bill, and I think we should seriously consider hypothecation down to the owner of the road, whether it is state, local or federal government.
We should also consider progressively shifting the basis for charging away from use of fuel, to distance and vehicle type, particularly for heavy vehicles. This will ensure that changes in fuel efficiencies do not undermine road investment in the future. It will also open the possibility of congestion charging in the cities. This will be good for regional areas, we will see more investment in road and rail infrastructure, and we will see an appropriate level of charging for roads in urban areas.
Just to underscore how serious the congestion problem is becoming in our urban areas, figures from Deloitte show that congestion costs to the economy in 1990 were $5 billion, in 2010 they were roughly $10 billion and by 2020 they are expected to be $20 billion. This is a massive problem for the economy. It is a problem that can be solved partly by the huge new investments that have been made by this government, but we also need to look further at our charging model, as the experts are suggesting. This bill in front of us today is a proportionate response to a serious problem. I commend it to the House.