Victorian car registration plan could mean big changes for drivers

A Victorian government advisory group is pushing for car registration fees to be scrapped and replaced by a pay-per-kilometre system, according to new plans revealed in parliament.

Infrastructure Victoria has proposed for the changes to come in within the next decade, replacing annual fees with a “user pays” system based on kilometres travelled.

The idea was previously rejected by the Victorian government.

Other ideas released on Thursday included a trial of a London-style congestion charge for vehicles travelling into Melbourne’s CBD.

The zone would be bordered by the West Gate Freeway, Alexander Parade, CityLink and Punt Road, and would use number plate recognition technology.

“Road user charges should ultimately combine a distance charge and a congestion charge at the times and locations of road congestion,‘’ the report read.

“Low-income and vulnerable Victorians can receive discounts on road user charges, like those for public transport.

“Designers can also consider the implications for those living more remotely and the fairness of the system.”

The advisory body presented the latest update of its 30-year strategy to state parliament on Thursday.

Under the plan, there would also be peak and off-peak tolling on new toll roads such as the West Gate Tunnel and North East Link.

The blueprint includes 13 recommendations for changes that could be made over the next five years, including measures for the state to embrace more electric vehicles.

Chief executive Michel Masson said the report had considered the long-term impacts of the pandemic.

“Victoria faces some big challenges over the next three decades including a growing and ageing population, technological transformation, a warming climate and worsening congestion on our transport network,” Mr Masson said.

But Premier Daniel Andrews rejected the proposal, saying the government had already made its stance clear.

“We’re not tolling existing roads, we’ve been very clear about that. And the only way to go to that system is to do exactly what we said we won’t do,” Mr Andrews said.

“We value the work of Infrastructure Victoria. They’re not the government – they’re there to provide advice and different ideas.

“We want to build not just better roads but a better public transport system as well.”

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