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Independent price regulation

28 July 2017

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission should ultimately take over regulating toll road and landside port charges, the ATA’s submission on the independent price regulation of heavy vehicle charges says.

The Australian Government is considering setting up an independent regulator to control truck and bus registration charges and the road user charge that truck and bus operators pay on fuel.

The ATA submission argues that the independent regulator – which should ultimately be the ACCC – should be responsible for toll road and landside port charges as well.

The submission argues that governments must start the reform process by fixing the overcharging of truck and bus operators.

Truck and bus operators will be overcharged by $264.8 million in 2017-18. The meter is ticking up by more than $725,000 per day.

The submission argues that the best option for establishing the independent regulator in the short term depends on the scope of the reforms agreed by governments.

If the reforms include an early and legislated transition to full economic regulation, the ACCC or a dedicated entity established under the Competition and Consumer Act should be the initial price regulator as well.

If the transition is to occur at an undefined future time, the National Transport Commission should be responsible for price regulation on an interim basis, noting that it would no longer make recommendations to ministers. Its determinations, made within the constraints of the pricing rules, would be binding.