This paper was commissioned by Infrastructure Australia to examine the road freight incremental pricing trials conducted in 2007–08 by the Council of Australian Governments.
The trials themselves were commissioned to examine the potential for more productive road freight access. Trials were intended to test many of the mechanisms underpinning commercially-focused road pricing and investment by Australia's road agencies.
The results indicated that Australia's major roads face many issues, including that agencies share characteristics of non-commercially oriented natural monopolies and face difficulties in responding to market initiated use and reinvestment in roads.
The paper recommends that this matter be viewed as a microeconomic reform opportunity of national significance, in the same vein as the structural monopoly reforms of the Australian rail sector in the 1990s. The paper offers some parallels with reform precedents in Australia's rail sector as a fruitful way forward for dealing with these issues.
The paper also reports on innovative alternative approaches to competitive heavy vehicle road access and investment being undertaken by South Australia to facilitate access to and private improvement of access roads for the mining sector. The paper contends that this practical development is worthy of national exposure and broader replication.
Note: These are large files. If you experience problems opening the report in your web browser, right-click on one of the above links, and select "Save target as…" in Internet Explorer, "Save link as…" in Firefox and Chrome, or "Download linked file as…" in Safari.