Treasury official talks up congestion charging


A Treasury official has backed the introduction of direct charging and a congestion charge for the road network

By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | March 5, 2013

A Treasury official has backed the introduction of direct charging and a congestion charge for the road network.

Paul Horrocks from the department’s infrastructure division told the 9th Annual Australian Roads Summit in Melbourne there are only two ways to fund infrastructure: through indirect taxes or directly billing motorists for using roads, with the latter being a more suitable option.

He says congestion charging could also help improve traffic flow.

"If governments can continue to take steps and commence a well-designed user charge across the network, this would help take pressure off congestion by providing price signals that will help regulate the demands," Horrocks says.

An overhaul of road charges was a key feature of former Treasury head Ken Henry’s review of the tax system. He recommended a variable congestion charging model and a system that bills heavy vehicles based on mass-distance-location.

Work is currently underway on developing options to replace the existing funding model built on registration charges and the fuel excise.

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