The issue of road access pricing has been alive for many years. On 20 February 2007, an article described massive opposition to U.K. Prime Minister Blair's proposed road usage charges.
A comprehensive N.S.W. Legislative Assembly committee inquiry into the issue, chaired by the then member for Strathfield Charles Casuscelli, took submissions and held hearings in May 2013 at which several interested parties gave evidence. Some of the evidence was in terms that Australian cities needed pricing as the only feasible way to control peak-hour road congestion. People wondered what the committee would report. Learn more about the inquiry.
On 24 September 2014, a Sydney Morning Herald article argued that road pricing was a touchy subject delaying the release of the committee's report. The "delay" became permanent - the committee never reported. The inquiry was allowed to expire quietly at the end of the Parliamentary term in 2015. Why? Did the road transport industry apply pressure to suppress any findings?
On 28 September 2014, another article said road pricing could ease congestion in Sydney and Melbourne.
Despite the huge cost to us all of road traffic congestion, the NSW government has said it has no plans to charge motorists for road access, even at peak hour. See this SMH article from October 2015.
On 16 February 2016, Infrastructure Australia published its Australian Infrastructure Plan, covering the next 15 years. It expresses a preference for road pricing over registration charges and fuel taxes as sources of road revenue. Learn more ...
On 20 February 2016, a SMH editorial argued that road access pricing was essential for fairness in transport funding.
On 11 March 2016, a SMH opinion article argued that congestion charges should prevail over registration charges.
On 14 March 2016, another SMH article reported that the Federal Minister for Major Projects, Paul Fletcher, said the Federal government would respond to a recommendation from advisory body Infrastructure Australia that it commission a study into how a road pricing scheme would work.
On 15 March 2016, a Committee for Economic Development of Australia luncheon was told that "a shift to a user-pays model was the only way to ensure Australia's cities did not grind to a halt over the next two to three decades".
On 16 March 2016, another article reported Transurban arguing in favour of road usage charges.
On 6 May 2016, two relevant items were in the SMHerald - a comment from Committee for Sydney and an article by Jacob Saulwick.
On 12 May 2016, yet another opinion piece was published showing the positive value of congestion as an influence for efficient travel habits.
On 8 July 2016, another article said Victoria's chief infrastructure adviser proposed a rethink in transport pricing.
On 11 July 2016, another article said Transport for NSW was conducting polling to find how much motorists might be prepared to pay for road usage.
On 16 August 2016, Paul Fletcher (Urban Infrastructure Minister in the Turnbull government) addressed the Sydney Institute arguing in favour of road-use charges for heavy vehicles. Also see Ross Gittins' analysis.
On 4 September 2016, another article reported the Western Australian government receiving expert advice that road pricing was an effective way to ease Perth congestion.
See this 3 March 2017 article by Chris Standen, discussing toll roads and what happens to toll money.
In April 2017, a NSW Legislative Council inquiry into road tolls was shown this diagram of a scheme to widen tolls into road pricing around the eastern half of Sydney. At the same hearing, the CEO of Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (Charles Casuscelli) told the inquiry that tolls would be undesirable in the Western Sydney environment.
In August 2017, the Institute for Sensible Transport held seminars in Sydney and Melbourne on issues including road user pricing. Videos of several of the Melbourne presentations can be seen here.
An article by Daniel C Vock published in Governing on April 1 2018 describes the growing number of American cities with road pricing (or near equivalent) on motorways. Some of the motorways are run by Transurban which runs many toll roads around Sydney. Learn more...
In February 2019, Infrastructure Victoria started public consultation about paying for the transport network, including by such measures as road access pricing, with a view to reforming. Learn more...
Professor Hensher of Sydney University has commended pricing for the Sydney situation. Learn more...
What else is needed to prod the NSW government into action?