IT’S the secret tax the major parties don’t want to talk about – a system for draining money out of every citizen that can be easily supercharged to raise a trillion dollars at the flick of a switch. Both the LNP and Labor plan to introduce a Road Tax, run by a third party private consortium with management rights over the country’s road network. The trials are already well advanced and well documented but no one is saying anything about it because the major parties need something like this road tax to pay for their spending and the debt they have racked up.
Every car, truck, and bus will be fitted with a smart meter, telling the government everywhere you go and when you go there. The privacy implications alone are staggering but just as concerning is the potential for the resulting tax to be set at any level. Like the GST, this tax will be felt by everyone in the country. And just as we were told the GST would replace other taxes, we will be told the road tax will replace fuel excise and registration. Where it differs is the rate of tax can be raised to any level with just a few keystrokes and without having to get approval from the states. We might as well hand our bank account passwords to the government so they can help themselves to whatever they want.
The major parties are committed to the Road Tax because it will solve a number of problems for the government. Electric cars don’t use fuel so the government will miss out on billions of dollars in fuel excise as the government forces petrol cars off the road. Fitting them with smart meters, like e-Tags, will capture those dollars by another means and both the major parties are planning for electric cars to become the only means of transport.
The “proof of concept” trials are finished, telemetric devices have been procured, and a private ‘road-managing’ corporation engaged to run the Federal Government’s on-road Road Charging Trial throughout 2020, ending in January next year. Government bureaucrats hope to forestall any public resistance with a ‘staged’ introduction, starting with trucks and heavy vehicles, which will then be gradually expanded until every vehicle on the road is covered by the new policy.
The road tax is particularly dangerous for regional drivers, who sometimes have to drive many kilometres on State roads just to get to their neighbour’s house. The government’s new Road Tax system would force people to have a “smart meter” device or e-Tag installed in their cars. The device would send monthly readings to a private consortium, like Transurban, with rights to charge drivers for their usage of State roads. The third party “service provider” would charge drivers based on how many kilometres they had driven, which roads they had driven on, and what time of day or night it was when they did.
A road tax or ‘road-user pricing system’ has been sold to Labor and LNP as the perfect green measure with huge behaviour change advantages in reducing car usage and allowing governments to further many other broader policy objectives. It’s all part of the major parties’ plan to phase out fossil-fuelled cars completely by 2040, or even 2035 and forcing higher taxes onto fossil-fuel cars is a key mechanism being used in Norway to force people into EVs. They want everybody in electric vehicles as soon as possible, despite the fact that EVs have a much shorter driving range, require a lot more servicing and take forever to recharge. So long, in fact, that they have been known to cause grid failures and blackouts in areas where more than three or four are trying to recharge at the same time, although no-one in the media or government will tell you about that.
Both the major parties are likely to claim the Secret Road Tax is fake news so here’s some of the background information where you can confirm for yourself that this is very real and coming to a set of wheels near you:
The Inaugural Road Pricing Forum – Open Discussion surrounding the movement towards road pricing reform in major Australian Cities – to be held in 2021
GOVERNMENT POLICY DOCUMENTS
Federal Government Heavy Vehicle Trial Program 2020-21 – to be run in two staged trials with second one ending in January 2021
Program Flyer states: “Government has co-designed the trials with industry to inform and shape future policy” explaining that the “National Pilot will report road use data and receive mock invoices comparing their current heavy vehicle registration and fuel charges against alternative charging scenarios”.
Flyer for Second Stage also gives goals as collecting “distance, mass (weight) and location data from vehicles’ telematics (distance recording) devices” and generate mock invoices.
Government website for the program
Federal Government’s 2019 Infrastructure Audit – Report from Infrastructure Australia
Report states that “the transport sector risks becoming financially and environmentally unsustainable” (5.1 p. 266) and that ”the problem of cost recovery has been exacerbated by a growing disparity between increasing traffic and the decreasing return of funds to governments from fuel excise due to improved vehicle efficiency” .
It also notes that road use has increased, “while excise revenue has decreased by 20%.” (5.1 p. 266).
The Report refers to “strong support for user pays mechanisms for infrastructure” (p266) and discusses potential mechanisms for ‘behaviour change’ saying that “ We also need to look at the potential for emerging third-party revenue streams” and use of “Telematics and vehicle tracking (to) help with scheduling and improved data collection and planning”.
Section 5.2 looks at how “Costs of road congestion and public transport crowding are forecasted to double from 2016 to 2031” and that current model is unsustainable.
Infrastructure Australia (Federal Government Agency under – 2018 – Government Policy Document on Infrastructure Pricing Reform
Whole document is about “road reform” and includes a recommendation for “road user charges” to be introduced, for which IA says “there is broad agreement on the need for road infrastructure reform to drive productivity”
Parliamentary Inquiry into Road User charges – 2017-2018
Policy Position papers of all stakeholders are unanimously in favour of road user chargers, even ag bodies – see whole list at link below
Selected Policy papers on road pricing from Stakeholder groups
Australian Automobile Association Policy Position Paper supports road user pricing
Business Council of Australia Policy Position paper on road user charges – August 2017
“The framework for the independent price regulation for heavy vehicle charges should be designed so that it can eventually be expanded to all vehicles on Australian roads”
Grain Growers Policy Position Paper on road user charges
Grain Growers support road use charges on heavy vehicles being expanded to include all road users:
“The introduction of independent price regulation for road use by heavy vehicles is an important first step in establishing a full direct road user charging system”
National Farmers Federation policy on road user charges – Given in Submission letter July 2017
Supports expansion of heavy vehicle user pays saying:
“The NFF considers the introduction of independent price regulation for road use by heavy vehicles as an important first step in establishing a direct road user charging system.”
Productivity Commissioner Report
The Case for Infrastructure Pricing Reform – What water can teach roads
(PDF coming – to be uploaded soon)
STATE GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS
Victorian State Government
Policy Document on “How an efficient, fair and sustainable pricing regime can help tackle congestion”
Victorian Government has hundreds of papers on road pricing. Most recent I could find was a 2020 “Cost Benefit Analysis on Road Pricing”
NSW State Government – Productivity Commissioner -2020
Continuing the: Productivity Conversation Green Paper
‘Green Paper’ on Road Reform for NSW State Government which arguing for introduction of a pricing model based on Singapore’s Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) scheme
Australian Rail Association
Why Road Pricing is Vital to Australia’s Economic Prosperity
Financial Services Sector -THE BIG FOUR
KPMG – 2019 Research Paper for the South Australian Government recommending Road User Scheme be introduced
Deloittes and Infrastructure Partnerships Australia – Discussion Paper on Road Pricing Mechanisms – prepared with support from:
“Australia’s leading motoring clubs, the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), the National Roads & Motorists’ Association (NRMA), the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ), and the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV)”
Whole document is on various road user charging models which they recommend be introduced.
Price Waterhouse Coopers Report recommends third party management and road user charging
Technology Journal Article
News Media – “Rise of the Machines” – A Snapshot of the World in 2038
Transurban Research Paper on Road Charges using Melbourne Roads as the model at
Contains following blurb “Transurban is a vocal advocate for road-funding reform. We believe that Australia’s current system of opaque fees and charges and rapidly diminishing fuel excise should be replaced with a transparent charging system that is built on the principle that those who benefit, pay, while ensuring fairness across the community”.
OECD Document exploring what the social impacts will be on people when Road Pricing has been introduced
US Government 2019 White Paper on” Lessons Learned for Designing Programs to Charge for Road Use, Congestion, and Emissions”
UN Infrastructure –
FOI and RTI Documents – Documents released under Disclosure Log 2020
Email correspondence and Departmental Reports – Qld Main Roads and Infrastructure Priority – 2019
Vehicle operating cost estimation approach (ref to VLC approach)
RTI-1003 – Released 5 March 2020
RTI-1091 – Released 29 April 2020
RTI-1135 – Released 19 May 2020
Sets of emails and meeting minutes where policy offices discuss various issues to do with road reform between Queensland Main Roads and Federal body, Infrastructure Australia – discussions on driver behaviour, and how to use “taxation policy” to increase EV take-up.
In Doc 5 they worry that the increases in “fuel efficiency” could adversely effect driver behaviour by making people drive more.
Comments in the documents – doc 8 – talks about how the Department has to have long range targets “to give industry time to prepare”.
Emails recommending other opportunities for Australia’s transport ministers to achieve the objectives of our Inter-Governmental Agreement, that is, by identifying reforms to improve land transport productivity, safety, environmental performance and regulatory efficiency
The NTC’s Work Program contains proposals for new reforms, approved reform projects, improvements to land transport laws, activities to monitor, review and evaluate the implementation of previously-approved reforms, and highly analytical work on heavy vehicle road user charges. (p7)
Land transport: future challenges
- 21 on Heavy vehicle pricing
Heavy vehicle charges are set to recover the costs that heavy vehicles impose on the road network. These costs include road construction, maintenance and operations. Under the existing pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) system, these costs have been measured using a retrospective approach, based on seven years of historical data. That is, heavy vehicle charges are set to recover the reported historical expenditure of building, maintaining and operating the road network. Other network infrastructure (for example electricity, water, telecommunications) typically uses a ‘life-cycle’ approach based on ‘forward looking costs’ to measure the costs of investments and operations. Under this model, capital costs are recovered over the time in which assets are used and consumed.