26 November 2020

Probing the polls: hotel quarantine and rego for every road user

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Electric car drivers

Should electric car drivers pay a road use charge? Photo: File.

As COVID-stranded travellers continue to return home, Canberra is doing its bit by taking two planeloads of returnees this week.

ACT Health is assuring us that all appropriate measures will be taken to avoid any transmission and the virus escaping into the community, and that the risks have been successfully managed before. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt agrees.

But experts like UNSW epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws say the quarantine system is about to be really tested as the Federal Government increases the number of people being allowed home.

She believes that we need purpose-built facilities, not hotels where untrained staff can so easily let their guard down and that the facilities also need to be outside big population centres, particularly Sydney and Melbourne.

READ ALSO Time to rethink city hotel quarantine system before another COVID-19 outbreak

Reader Chewy said: “We’ve now had two outbreaks caused by the state hotel quarantine systems and they need rethinking.

“Returned travellers are far and away the greatest risk to major outbreaks and need to be treated differently than the current system. Whilst it may be painful for those returned travellers to be locked away for two weeks in purpose-built facilities, the risk to the rest of the population and the wider economy is too great.”

And Meredith thought that fast saliva testing should be carried out on a daily basis in medi-hotels: “It gives results in five or so minutes and is very cheap and work by Joshua Gans suggests that they are accurate. If someone tests positive with that method then action can be immediately taken. Authorities can also do back up testing with the more expensive testing that takes 24 hours.”

We asked Should the ACT accept overseas travellers into hotel quarantine?

Your answers were very close to even as 1179 people voted. Your options were to vote Yes, it can be managed safely and we all need to share the load. This option received 47 per cent of the total or 553 votes. Alternatively, you could vote No, we’re COVID-free and the risks are unacceptably high. This attracted 53 per cent of the total or 626 votes.

This week, we’re wondering about who pays for our roads. As Australia makes the transition to renewably powered vehicles, there will be a predictable decline in the fuel excise.

So should electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles pay a road usage charge? South Australia thinks so: motorists there who drive electric vehicles will pay the charge from 2021.

And Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas says the charges could net around $30 million per annum, offset by $45 million in the next Budget for measures to encourage electric car use, such as the creation of more charging stations.

But opponents say that the charges could discourage the uptake of renewably powered vehicles.

Not all monies from fuel excise fund roads, but it remains the primary road user charge. The ACT Greens want Canberra to be the nation’s electric car capital, with 90 per cent of new car sales to be zero-emission by 2030.

As a result of the new government agreement signed between Labor and the Greens, the ACT will also be the only jurisdiction in Australia to offer zero-interest loans to help subsidise new and used electric vehicle purchases.

Our question is:

Should ACT electric car drivers pay a road use charge?

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Cycladelec … I do like your reply to my note on how us non EV’s pay 42 cents per litre to revenue…””Plenty people with much more informed views than that Riot ACT know that now is not the time to impose a Road User Charge for EVs.””
Am reminded of a line from a old song “Lord Have Mercy on the Working Man”

‘Why’s the rich man busy dancing
While the poor man pays the band.’

rationalobserver7:19 am 27 Nov 20

Its not just cars, all sorts of things now use our roads and it should be a shared cost. Usr pays and all that.
In some suburbs I now notice ACT government signs announcing that pedestrians also use the roads.

Number plates for pedestrians… and registration ?.

rationalobserver7:52 am 28 Nov 20

No, just pointing out the extent that roads are becoming a multi use community facility.

Plenty people with much more informed views than that Riot ACT know that now is not the time to impose a Road User Charge for EVs. It is really not too much to ask for Riot ACT to provide accurate information that supports the actions of the ACT Government and many others in encouraging the uptake of EVs of all kinds since reducing transport emissions is pretty important. Thankfully our government is more enlightened and progressive than most in this country.

They could at least get the numbers right (Noting its probably taken from somewhere else). Victorian Budget papers show they only expect to raise $10m a year, not $30m a year.

So progressive they can’t even organise the bins to get picked up, we have the worst hospital performance in the country and violent crime rising.

rationalobserver8:00 am 28 Nov 20

Progressive just means rushing like lemons towards the next shiny thing.
If the ACT government are as good as you would like to believe, then they should be considering the whole economic and environmental life cycle of EV’s.
That way, the true cost of the energy required to produce the light weight materials used in EV’s can be brought to account, as can the cost of the rare earth minerals which need to be mined and shipped around the world, plus of course the cost of dealing with the highly toxic batteries after they reach their end of life.
“Zero emissions” is a dishonest marketing term, not a badge of honour for wannabe eco warriors.

What will be of importance is how the Feds look at electric powered vehicles.
Fuel excise is a great earner for the Feds.. Every litre of petrol you pay for, about 42 cents of it wanders off into the Federal Treasury.
As is quoted “”As revenue raising goes, fuel excise must be Treasury’s golden child””. But along come leccy cars using no fuel… and .. uh oh , no revenue.
I suspect this will not be allowed to happen for much longer.

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