Rural rail subsidised by up to $4,000 a trip, prompting overhaul call

 
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
The more you use the road, the more you have to pay in fuel, insurance and registration.
simstrain

Fuel and possibly insurance, yes, but not registration (not in Qld anyway). You also will spend more on maintenance (and/or replacement) of your vehicle, but none of these directly fund the roads themselves, so I'm not sure why you keep raising this? The point I made early on is that we should be very scared of having to pay road maintenance costs based on our driving habits (pay by kilometres driven). We would have to stop driving. I stand by that comment.

if you don't use the car that much then the question should be why do you have a car.
simstrain

I own two cars. One is used quite a lot, the other not so much. This is for convenience, as often my wife and I need to be in different places at the same time. We have (almost) no public transport and due to our circumstances (age and health) walking any distance is not an option.

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  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
The user already pays for it in the form of fuel (petrol, hydrogen or electricity), registration, insurance (CTP and regular), tolls and vehicle maintainence. So don't tell me that road users don't pay enough to use the roads because they do.
Im not at all saying that.  Road users, as a population, pay for the roads.  But within that group, some users pay more than they should and some pay less than they should, based on the consumption of the road (i.e. damage) and congestion they incur when using the road.  This impacts the decisions users make.  By taking off the fuel tax, excess registration fees, tolls etc, and replacing it with a per km charge per vehicle, the use of the road will be better connected to the price people pay for it.

Though i feel I'm going round in circles by restating this.

I would like to know what users are paying more then they should and who aren't paying enough. The more you use the road, the more you have to pay in fuel, insurance and registration. Trucks pay a higher toll price then cars and if you don't use the car that much then the question should be why do you have a car. The solution is to make freight rail more competitive by building new straighter rail lines to make freight rail movement faster between the capitals and also regional areas.

Getting more freight on rail in regional areas is more important then getting passengers onto trains in regional areas.
simstrain

My suggestion is for you to take a look at the IPA paper I linked to earlier, and also take a look at the findings from the Henry Tax Review - they explain the reason for road user charging.  Essentially, the current charges are approximate charges at best, and are not directly linked to the road use.  A really rough approximation might be going into hospital and paying a flat daily rate, instead of paying for the services that you actually use.  People who have more X-rays etc are going to incur a higher cost than people who don't.  Those having more X-rays pay less than they should, those having less X-rays pay more.

Road user charging reallocates who its being collected from (shuffling the deckchairs) such that the users of the road pay the amount that corresponds to the rate they use the road.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The user already pays for it in the form of fuel (petrol, hydrogen or electricity), registration, insurance (CTP and regular), tolls and vehicle maintainence. So don't tell me that road users don't pay enough to use the roads because they do.
Im not at all saying that.  Road users, as a population, pay for the roads.  But within that group, some users pay more than they should and some pay less than they should, based on the consumption of the road (i.e. damage) and congestion they incur when using the road.  This impacts the decisions users make.  By taking off the fuel tax, excess registration fees, tolls etc, and replacing it with a per km charge per vehicle, the use of the road will be better connected to the price people pay for it.

Though i feel I'm going round in circles by restating this.

I would like to know what users are paying more then they should and who aren't paying enough. The more you use the road, the more you have to pay in fuel, insurance and registration. Trucks pay a higher toll price then cars and if you don't use the car that much then the question should be why do you have a car. The solution is to make freight rail more competitive by building new straighter rail lines to make freight rail movement faster between the capitals and also regional areas.

Getting more freight on rail in regional areas is more important then getting passengers onto trains in regional areas.

My suggestion is for you to take a look at the IPA paper I linked to earlier, and also take a look at the findings from the Henry Tax Review - they explain the reason for road user charging.  Essentially, the current charges are approximate charges at best, and are not directly linked to the road use.  A really rough approximation might be going into hospital and paying a flat daily rate, instead of paying for the services that you actually use.  People who have more X-rays etc are going to incur a higher cost than people who don't.  Those having more X-rays pay less than they should, those having less X-rays pay more.

Road user charging reallocates who its being collected from (shuffling the deckchairs) such that the users of the road pay the amount that corresponds to the rate they use the road.
james.au

That report and thinking is wrong. It is clearly a pro road charging report and is written in such a way. It has no basis in fact.

Please explain how a tax on fuel is an approximate tax. The more fuel you use the more you pay and so the tax on fuel is a user pays system. Road charging is clearly just another way to slug road users. Your hospital analogy is incorrect and nothing at all like how road users pay at the moment.

If you don't use a car, then you don't need to own a car and then you don't need to pay for a licence, registration, insurance, fuel or tolls. So the current system is a user pays system.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
The user already pays for it in the form of fuel (petrol, hydrogen or electricity), registration, insurance (CTP and regular), tolls and vehicle maintainence. So don't tell me that road users don't pay enough to use the roads because they do.
Im not at all saying that.  Road users, as a population, pay for the roads.  But within that group, some users pay more than they should and some pay less than they should, based on the consumption of the road (i.e. damage) and congestion they incur when using the road.  This impacts the decisions users make.  By taking off the fuel tax, excess registration fees, tolls etc, and replacing it with a per km charge per vehicle, the use of the road will be better connected to the price people pay for it.

Though i feel I'm going round in circles by restating this.

I would like to know what users are paying more then they should and who aren't paying enough. The more you use the road, the more you have to pay in fuel, insurance and registration. Trucks pay a higher toll price then cars and if you don't use the car that much then the question should be why do you have a car. The solution is to make freight rail more competitive by building new straighter rail lines to make freight rail movement faster between the capitals and also regional areas.

Getting more freight on rail in regional areas is more important then getting passengers onto trains in regional areas.

My suggestion is for you to take a look at the IPA paper I linked to earlier, and also take a look at the findings from the Henry Tax Review - they explain the reason for road user charging.  Essentially, the current charges are approximate charges at best, and are not directly linked to the road use.  A really rough approximation might be going into hospital and paying a flat daily rate, instead of paying for the services that you actually use.  People who have more X-rays etc are going to incur a higher cost than people who don't.  Those having more X-rays pay less than they should, those having less X-rays pay more.

Road user charging reallocates who its being collected from (shuffling the deckchairs) such that the users of the road pay the amount that corresponds to the rate they use the road.

That report and thinking is wrong. It is clearly a pro road charging report and is written in such a way. It has no basis in fact.

Please explain how a tax on fuel is an approximate tax. The more fuel you use the more you pay and so the tax on fuel is a user pays system. Road charging is clearly just another way to slug road users. Your hospital analogy is incorrect and nothing at all like how road users pay at the moment.

If you don't use a car, then you don't need to own a car and then you don't need to pay for a licence, registration, insurance, fuel or tolls. So the current system is a user pays system.
simstrain

Ok, lets have another go.

If you think the IPA paper is biased, then you need to refer to the Henry Tax Review, Harper Competition review and Commission of Audit Report.  They contain information that I would consider far less biased.  Particularly the first two.

The tax on fuel is a tax on fuel use - not road use.  Different vehicles use different amounts of fuel but may damage/consume the road in exactly the same way.  A lower fuel consuming car will pay less tax than a higher fuel consuming one for the same damage/consumption on the road.  See the problem?  One is paying more than the other for the same road damage/consumption cost.

For trucks, my dad on the farm pays within his rego for a semi a fixed Road User Charge on top of the rego fee (this is in NSW).  This is an average across vehicle types set under the current PAYGO system of charging for road use through the annual rego fees.  It is not a specific charge for his actual use.  He doesn't use it on the road a lot (say less than 500km per year) and so pays a lot more than he should (per km).  If he was using it every day all day (and say did 1 million km per year), he would pay far less than he should (again on a per km basis).

Agreed.  The hospital analogy was rough.  It was intended to demonstrate the principle, which id say it does well.

The current system is a user pays system, i don't disagree, but it is poorly designed as some users pay less for the same thing.  And others pay more.  This distorts the market for road supply and demand.  This leads to less than optimal road infrastructure investment decisions, it leads to less than optimal decisions for people to use road over other more efficient modes etc etc.  

Im happy to try and keep explaining this, just keep asking me questions on this.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
The current system is a user pays system, i don't disagree, but it is poorly designed as some users pay less for the same thing.  And others pay more.  This distorts the market for road supply and demand.  This leads to less than optimal road infrastructure investment decisions, it leads to less than optimal decisions for people to use road over other more efficient modes etc etc.
james.au

To be truly user pays the user must pay for what he/she uses, nothing more, nothing less. If this is not the case then some users are subsidising others.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
If you don't use a car, then you don't need to own a car and then you don't need to pay for a licence, registration, insurance, fuel or tolls.
simstrain

That is a generalisation at best. As stated above I own two cars. I can't use both at the same time, but both are often in use at the same time. Many people in rural areas might own a car for general transport, a ute to transport "stuff", a truck to cart grain etc. Obviously they can only use one of these at any given time, but their circumstances demand that they own multiple vehicles.
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise

Here is the link to the report I am seeing the results of the modelling.

http://www.infrastructure.org.au/Content/RoadPricing.aspx

Click on the little blue link at the bottom of the short paragraph.

Refer to page 9 of the doc - User Benefits.  There is more analysis on page 55.
james.au
Thankyou James.
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
Ill track down some figures in the morning RTT.  It is not, and the roads deficit is widening, putting pressure on general revenues.  With increased fuel efficiency, no indexation of the excise and other factors, the amount of funding raised from these indirect means is in decline.
Looking forward to it as the numbers shown to me show a positive cash flow.
RTT_Rules
RTT, does this include the assumption that the level of governments involved have a real handle on their asset management? My experience is that they do not.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Ok, lets have another go.

If you think the IPA paper is biased, then you need to refer to the Henry Tax Review, Harper Competition review and Commission of Audit Report.  They contain information that I would consider far less biased.  Particularly the first two.

The tax on fuel is a tax on fuel use - not road use.  Different vehicles use different amounts of fuel but may damage/consume the road in exactly the same way.  A lower fuel consuming car will pay less tax than a higher fuel consuming one for the same damage/consumption on the road.  See the problem?  One is paying more than the other for the same road damage/consumption cost.

For trucks, my dad on the farm pays within his rego for a semi a fixed Road User Charge on top of the rego fee (this is in NSW).  This is an average across vehicle types set under the current PAYGO system of charging for road use through the annual rego fees.  It is not a specific charge for his actual use.  He doesn't use it on the road a lot (say less than 500km per year) and so pays a lot more than he should (per km).  If he was using it every day all day (and say did 1 million km per year), he would pay far less than he should (again on a per km basis).

Agreed.  The hospital analogy was rough.  It was intended to demonstrate the principle, which id say it does well.

The current system is a user pays system, i don't disagree, but it is poorly designed as some users pay less for the same thing.  And others pay more.  This distorts the market for road supply and demand.  This leads to less than optimal road infrastructure investment decisions, it leads to less than optimal decisions for people to use road over other more efficient modes etc etc.  

Im happy to try and keep explaining this, just keep asking me questions on this.

The basic problem with your argument is that everybody is paying too much when it comes to cars. It is the way it is because it makes the government huge amounts of money to then build roads and other things. If you don't use a car or truck that often then maybe you should sell your car and truck to save yourself money.

The system is not poorly designed if you are the government because it rakes in billions of dollars in GST. Why would the government introduce something that will hurt there bottom line. When electric cars take over then there will be an appreciable health benefit with less toxic gas in the air.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

If you don't use a car, then you don't need to own a car and then you don't need to pay for a licence, registration, insurance, fuel or tolls.

That is a generalisation at best. As stated above I own two cars. I can't use both at the same time, but both are often in use at the same time. Many people in rural areas might own a car for general transport, a ute to transport "stuff", a truck to cart grain etc. Obviously they can only use one of these at any given time, but their circumstances demand that they own multiple vehicles.
Graham4405

My generalisation isn't aimed at rural areas where you don't have public transport options and often have large distances to traverse. It is aimed at city users where they generally have a PT option.

Can I ask questions in regards to your trucks that you don't use often?
Do you only use your truck for your own purposes?
Do you use it to help other farmers that don't have a truck?
Have you thought about monetising your truck by hiring it out?
Have you thought about selling your truck and hiring a truck instead when needed?
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
The basic problem with your argument is that everybody is paying too much when it comes to cars. It is the way it is because it makes the government huge amounts of money to then build roads and other things. If you don't use a car or truck that often then maybe you should sell your car and truck to save yourself money.

The system is not poorly designed if you are the government because it rakes in billions of dollars in GST. Why would the government introduce something that will hurt there bottom line. When electric cars take over then there will be an appreciable health benefit with less toxic gas in the air.
simstrain

Id say the basic problem you identify is not with my argument but with the system of road provision as it is currently designed.

The arrival of electric cars is going to kill off the revenue stream from fuel tax, forcing the government to design a better way to charge for roads.  Electric cars are perhaps the perfect example for why road charging should come in.  An electric car pays zero fuel tax, but say it weighs 2 tonnes, will do damage to the road similar to a fuel burning car that also weighs 2 tonnes.  We need a charge that says, ok, for your 2 tonne car, you pay $x per km of driving to pay for the roads you use.

Congestion charges are a whole other thing though - I'm not as well progressed in my thinking about how to set those charges.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
If you don't use a car, then you don't need to own a car and then you don't need to pay for a licence, registration, insurance, fuel or tolls.

That is a generalisation at best. As stated above I own two cars. I can't use both at the same time, but both are often in use at the same time. Many people in rural areas might own a car for general transport, a ute to transport "stuff", a truck to cart grain etc. Obviously they can only use one of these at any given time, but their circumstances demand that they own multiple vehicles.

My generalisation isn't aimed at rural areas where you don't have public transport options and often have large distances to traverse. It is aimed at city users where they generally have a PT option.

Can I ask questions in regards to your trucks that you don't use often?
Do you only use your truck for your own purposes?
Do you use it to help other farmers that don't have a truck?
Have you thought about monetising your truck by hiring it out?
Have you thought about selling your truck and hiring a truck instead when needed?
simstrain
Most of Australia is rural, this thread is about rural rail services. Personally I don't own a truck (I have stated above twice that I own two cars), but I know many people who do. My example above is based on my limited knowledge of what others do.

Perhaps Queensland Rail could sell the under utilised Westlander and Inlander sets and hire them back when they want to use them... Rolling Eyes
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

If you don't use a car, then you don't need to own a car and then you don't need to pay for a licence, registration, insurance, fuel or tolls.

That is a generalisation at best. As stated above I own two cars. I can't use both at the same time, but both are often in use at the same time. Many people in rural areas might own a car for general transport, a ute to transport "stuff", a truck to cart grain etc. Obviously they can only use one of these at any given time, but their circumstances demand that they own multiple vehicles.

My generalisation isn't aimed at rural areas where you don't have public transport options and often have large distances to traverse. It is aimed at city users where they generally have a PT option.

Can I ask questions in regards to your trucks that you don't use often?
Do you only use your truck for your own purposes?
Do you use it to help other farmers that don't have a truck?
Have you thought about monetising your truck by hiring it out?
Have you thought about selling your truck and hiring a truck instead when needed?
Most of Australia is rural, this thread is about rural rail services. Personally I don't own a truck (I have stated above twice that I own two cars), but I know many people who do. My example above is based on my limited knowledge of what others do.

Perhaps Queensland Rail could sell the under utilised Westlander and Inlander sets and hire them back when they want to use them... Rolling Eyes
Graham4405

Most of the country might be rural but most of the population is not. If the trains don't serve a purpose either by reducing congestion or making money then they should be replaced by coaches or planes.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
Most of the country might be rural but most of the population is not. If the trains don't serve a purpose either by reducing congestion or making money then they should be replaced by coaches or planes.
simstrain


I don't disagree, however you were using a non-rural generalisation with regard to road funding. I would argue that most people who live in rural areas would drive far more kilometres than most of those who live in urban areas. If we who live outside metropolitan areas had to pay for building and maintenance of roads per kilometre driven (yes, I know we pay for fuel and other car running costs on this basis already) most of us would have to sell our vehicles and stay home. Online shopping would then boom in these areas (even more so that it has already)! Wink
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Oh please! Get a room you two. Rolling Eyes

Alternately, if I've got it wrong and it's not a lovers tiff, you could just agree to disagree. Your semantics is driving the rest of us bonkers.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
As for the Westlander, I would like to point out that it runs to a nonsensical timetable that makes it useless for most potential passengers. Most people here in Dalby would not even be aware that the service exists.

Potential options:

  1. Retain the service as a traditional passenger service. Fix the timetable and promote the service and it might just get some patronage. I will concede that it might need to be cut back to Roma or even Dalby. Daily Dalby - Brisbane return might even be an option if the slow range crossing times can be improved.
  2. Revamp the service as a tourist train, Spirit of the Outback style. Again it might need to be cut back to Roma. Timetable tweaking and promotion would still be necessary.


GSR (whoever they are now) have invested heavily in advertising. Queensland Rail don't appear to have done the same. They have been trying to kill off these services for some time.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
Your semantics is driving the rest of us bonkers.
Bogong
You are under no obligation to read posts that annoy you! Smile
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Most of the country might be rural but most of the population is not. If the trains don't serve a purpose either by reducing congestion or making money then they should be replaced by coaches or planes.


I don't disagree, however you were using a non-rural generalisation with regard to road funding. I would argue that most people who live in rural areas would drive far more kilometres than most of those who live in urban areas. If we who live outside metropolitan areas had to pay for building and maintenance of roads per kilometre driven (yes, I know we pay for fuel and other car running costs on this basis already) most of us would have to sell our vehicles and stay home. Online shopping would then boom in these areas (even more so that it has already)! Wink
Graham4405

I am not advocating road charging. James is the one who is advocating that solution and I am totally against road charging. I'm saying to let the current system go as it is funding these new roads. If electrical cars become a reality for everyday motoring then there will probably be an uprise in tolls paying for new major roads to be built.

I'm trying to argue that rural areas don't need passenger trains, especially trains subsidised to $4,000 per passenger. I'm arguing that in rural Australia that a Coach is more appropriate for the low numbers that use PT in this area and that a train in certain regional areas should only be of the freight type.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
graham4405
I would argue that most people who live in rural areas would drive far more kilometres than most of those who live in urban areas. If we who live outside metropolitan areas had to pay for building and maintenance of roads per kilometre driven most of us would have to sell our vehicles and stay home.
[/quote]The IPA modelling says otherwise.  Ive also read in the press somewhere that the National party has had some work done on rural road charges and that it shows that rural drivers will pay less with road user charging.  I don't have a report to back this up though sorry.

simstrain
I am not advocating road charging. James is the one who is advocating that solution and I am totally against road charging. I'm saying to let the current system go as it is funding these new roads. If electrical cars become a reality for everyday motoring then there will probably be an uprise in tolls paying for new major roads to be built.

Unashamedly so - i think we should agree to disagree on this one

simstrain
I'm trying to argue that rural areas don't need passenger trains, especially trains subsidised to $4,000 per passenger. I'm arguing that in rural Australia that a Coach is more appropriate for the low numbers that use PT in this area and that a train in certain regional areas should only be of the freight type.

I broadly agree with you on this point.  Exceptions are regional cities such as Albury, Ballarat, possibly places like Dubbo etc.  low population base rural Queensland doesn't warrant it.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Can someone who knows how the quote switches work help me learn how to fix my above post????
  NorthWest Locomotive Fireman




I would argue that most people who live in rural areas would drive far more kilometres than most of those who live in urban areas. If we who live outside metropolitan areas had to pay for building and maintenance of roads per kilometre driven most of us would have to sell our vehicles and stay home.
Graham4405


The IPA modelling says otherwise. Ive also read in the press somewhere that the National party has had some work done on rural road charges and that it shows that rural drivers will pay less with road user charging. I don't have a report to back this up though sorry.



I am not advocating road charging. James is the one who is advocating that solution and I am totally against road charging. I'm saying to let the current system go as it is funding these new roads. If electrical cars become a reality for everyday motoring then there will probably be an uprise in tolls paying for new major roads to be built.
simstrain


Unashamedly so - i think we should agree to disagree on this one


I'm trying to argue that rural areas don't need passenger trains, especially trains subsidised to $4,000 per passenger. I'm arguing that in rural Australia that a Coach is more appropriate for the low numbers that use PT in this area and that a train in certain regional areas should only be of the freight type.
simstrain


I broadly agree with you on this point. Exceptions are regional cities such as Albury, Ballarat, possibly places like Dubbo etc. low population base rural Queensland doesn't warrant it.


james.au
Better? You had a few too many bits of code in it.Smile It's still a bit wonky and I had to edit a bit to work.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Yep that looks much better - though i can't work out how to reverse the code that automates the quote switches into the boxes.  I guess this is not something we can do?
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
Yep that looks much better - though i can't work out how to reverse the code that automates the quote switches into the boxes.  I guess this is not something we can do?
james.au
Click the "View Source" button and manually type/edit/copy/paste the quote tags to suit.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
Most of the country might be rural but most of the population is not. If the trains don't serve a purpose either by reducing congestion or making money then they should be replaced by coaches or planes.
simstrain
Indeed. Link the country with flights and fill the gaps with coaches. If regional trains are so heavily subsidised that the states have to fork out thousands per trip, we are literally better off paying pensioners to take to the skies.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
g

simstrain
I'm trying to argue that rural areas don't need passenger trains, especially trains subsidised to $4,000 per passenger. I'm arguing that in rural Australia that a Coach is more appropriate for the low numbers that use PT in this area and that a train in certain regional areas should only be of the freight type.

I broadly agree with you on this point.  Exceptions are regional cities such as Albury, Ballarat, possibly places like Dubbo etc.  low population base rural Queensland doesn't warrant it.[/quote]

agree

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