By Sam Hibbins
The state government’s decision to introduce a user charge for electric vehicles signals a dangerous step towards a privatised road user charge scheme in Victoria.
A privatised scheme would undermine any of its own benefits by helping to line the pockets of profit hungry giants like Transurban at the expense of our roads and those who use them.
When I first heard about the proposed tax earlier this week, I was shocked. At a time when we need to urgently cut back on our greenhouse gas emissions and protect our climate, discouraging road users from adopting cars with cleaner footprints is the last thing we need.
Beyond keeping our roads packed with noisy and polluting cars, it would also completely undermine the positive investments the government has made in renewable energy in its recent budget.
But when I began to look more closely into the proposed tax, and how out of step it was, it became clear that the government was readying itself to privatise yet another public asset.
I only had to look at who had originally proposed the tax – Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, a pro-privatisation ‘think-tank’ representing Transurban and road builders. They were also the first ones out of the gate to support the government’s move. And we know that Transurban has been gunning to get their hands on road user charging rights for some time.
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