The radical plan to scrap car registrations

Motorists could be slugged for every kilometre they drive on major roads, with the top planning body renewing its push for a user-paid system.

Infrastructure Australia is pushing to scrap fuel excise and registration fees in favour of charging drivers for how far and when they use the roads in a bid for future investing in road infrastructure.

The government agency says the current system for funding roads is unsustainable because drivers are transitioning to electric cars, which will not pay fuel excise, but the cost of our roads will stay the same or increase.

There is a push to scrap fuel excise and registration fees in favour of charging drivers for how far they travel. Source: Getty Images

The proposal was part of its Australian Infrastructure Plan published in February 2016 which the group said the Australian government initially showed support in, but no inquiry followed.

Infrastructure Australia last Monday released its Prioritising Reform report, which assessed how the 2016 recommended reforms progressed in the past two years.

“The system is unfair because the link between usage and charging is weak,” the Australian Infrastructure Plan said.

“Australian taxpayers incur a significant ongoing cost burden to maintain and develop our road system, regardless of whether they own or drive a car.

“The system is also unsustainable because fuel excise revenue will continue to decline in real terms as fuel efficiency continues to rise and the uptake of alternatively fuelled vehicles gathers pace.”

The report said an Australian road market was needed that reflects the true costs of providing, maintaining and using the network, with fees to reflect these costs.

Infrastructure Australia chief executive Philip Davies said “more action is needed” and pushed the government to move forward on this “important opportunity for reform”.

The next Australian Infrastructure Plan will be released in 2021.