Something that will have many of our members feeling much less comfortable is this part of the Communiqué from last Friday:
“Ministers agreed that the COAG Road Reform Plan (CRRP) Feasibility Study [will] be submitted to COAG for its consideration and endorsement [in first half of 2012].”
“Delivery of the Feasibility Study is a key milestone set out in the Seamless National Economy Partnership implementation plan determined by COAG in early 2010.”
It’s rumoured that this Feasibility Study will tell COAG that there need to be significant changes to how road agencies work, how roads are planned and funded, and whether how investors – like superannuation funds – can bring new sources of financing to help the road system grow.
If that’s true, it will be another big win for industry.
… fuel’s alive, but so are the other charging options
Even if the Feasibility Study has all the good stuff we’ve asked for, it’s certain that it will still be recommending that there must be some change to how charging will work in the future.
The clear view of the boffins who’ve written the report is that you can’t get new investment into the road system without finding some way to pay for it. And that means charging reform is still on the table.
The best information available to me is that the Feasibility Study doesn’t try to pick the answer for charging reform, and allegedly it acknowledges that ‘fuel based charging’ could be an option.
But the report is also rumoured to keep all the other options alive too – all the mass-distance-location based options that made many people nervous.
Sending this report to COAG means this issue is now running at a much higher level than just the road agencies. It’s in the hands of the Commonwealth State Treasuries and the Premiers Departments. The meetings to discuss what to do next are racing ahead.
Time for industry to step up its game!