AAA Calls For a Long-Term Outlook
Australia’s peak motoring body, the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), has called on the Federal Government to conduct a comprehensive examination of Australia’s transport networks with a 20-year horizon, to ensure better connectivity between road, rail and public transport.
AAA, in its formal Budget submission released this week, also proposes replacing existing state and federal road taxes with a road user charge, increasing funds for AusLink 2 to $25 billion, and calls for funding promised during the election campaign for a driver education program, keys2drive.
AAA Executive Director, Mike Harris, said in releasing the Budget submission that the government’s new body, Infrastructure Australia, would be well-placed to handle the proposed reform agenda.
“While funds are being made available to develop improved road and rail infrastructure for the Australian community and economy, there is a need for a long-term commitment to better utilise this investment,” Mr Harris said.
“We need a longer-term commitment to an integrated land transport network, with a 15 to 20 year horizon to make sure the increased investment is properly allocated.
“AAA and the clubs believe such an examination should look at the interconnectivity of road, rail and public transport, reducing congestion across all cities and increasing AusLink funds to ensure our national highways have at least a 4-star rating.
“We also strongly believe the government should develop a fairer and more efficient system of charging road users – one which replaces the current state and federal road taxes with a road user charge. This road user charge should reflect the costs of actually using the road.
“We welcomed the government’s commitment during the election to supporting keys2drive – which will provide a free professional driving lesson to learners where their supervising driver also takes part in the lesson – and look forward to seeing a commitment in the Budget of $17 million over four years.
“We are calling on the government to look at these important issues now and into the future, to make sure Australia’s land transport network can face the challenges of the future, and AAA stands ready to work with government on these issues.”
AAA’s 2008 Federal Budget submission can be downloaded at www.aaa.asn.au.