Senate Inquiry Opening Statement – COAG Reform Fund Amendment (No Electric Vehicle Taxes) Bill 2020

Committee Introduction

The Australian Logistics Council welcomes the opportunity to make a submission on the COAG Reform Fund Amendment (No Electric Vehicle Taxes) Bill 2020.

ALC is the peak national body representing major companies participating in the freight and logistics industry. Its policy focus is on delivering enhanced supply chain efficiency and safety.

Australia is a single national economy.

Yet so much of the regulatory framework that impacts on businesses is designed and enforced at a State or local level.

Victoria has introduced into its Parliament a 2.5 cent per kilometre levy on electric vehicles, following an earlier decision made by South Australia.

The ACT appears to be mooting an ‘opt in’ distance charge whilst the NSW Government appears uncertain.
As Australia has a national economy ALC is firmly of the view that taxation mechanisms for road use should be uniform throughout the country.

It is also imperative that as excise revenue falls, all road users pay the charges necessary to
permit the construction and maintenance of the roads Australia needs both now and in the future, irrespective of how they are powered.

The next Infrastructure and Transport Ministers’ Meeting to be held later on this year will replace the Transport and Infrastructure Council terminated following the abolition of COAG and the creation of the National Cabinet process.

It will be considering issues such as heavy vehicle road pricing reform, amendments to Australia’s heavy vehicle national law and the adoption of national urban freight planning principles. ALC hopes that final resolution of these issues will be achieved within 12 months of the meeting, as recommended in the Conran review of COAG councils and ministerial forums.

Given this, ALC believes the ITMM should add to its list the recommendation contained in the NSW government’s Supporting the Road for Recovery paper to establish a pathway for the development of a road user charge capable of being applied to all classes of vehicle, within 12 months.

Finally, there may be a role for the Commonwealth in incentivising national uniformity in electric vehicle road charging.

The 2020-21 Budget Papers identified $261m in National Partnership Payments to encourage Competition and Productivity Enhancing Reform.

Perhaps the Commonwealth could invest some of this money to this cause.

Thank you.