Road pricing and road provision in Australia: Where are we and how did we get here?

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapter


British settlement of Australia began in 1788 and, from the outset,
governments of all persuasions imposed strong ‘statist’ traditions of
public ownership and control of important infrastructure. Economic
development and physical access across the continent were dependent
on statist investment, construction and maintenance of crucial
infrastructure—often called the ‘colonial liberalist’ legacy by subsequent
historians. State intervention was accepted as a basic requirement of social
progress and economic development and, over time, Australia became
locked in a ‘path dependency’ paradigm reliant on state provision and
regulation of vital infrastructure. Accordingly, the provision of modes of
transport across the continent and the policy dictates associated with the
crucial issues of provision and usage were framed within a particularly
statist mindset. Roads, rail, shipping and river transport, as well as bridges,
jetties and wharves (and later air transport), were all historically financed
and governed by dirigisme and by institutional arrangements, rather than
market-based measures such as private investment, private provision and
consumer charging.
Arguably, command-driven public provision
and the arbitrary governmental regulation of transport infrastructure
came at a cost to the overall productivity and efficiency of each type of
infrastructure and the interconnectivity between them. And we are still
living with the legacy of this pattern of state activism in the funding and
provision of transport infrastructure.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoad Pricing and Provision
Subtitle of host publicationChanged Traffic Conditions Ahead
EditorsMichael De Percy, John Wanna
Place of PublicationCanberra, Australia
PublisherANU E Press
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9781760462314
ISBN (Print)9781760462307
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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