AusLink Challenges the States
The Australian Automobile Association has called on the State and Territory Governments to increase road funding and actively participate in AusLink.
The Executive Director of the AAA, Lauchlan McIntosh, welcomed today’s launch of the AusLink plan by the Acting Prime Minister, the Hon John Anderson MP, and Senator The Hon Ian Campbell. Mr McIntosh said that this new National Transport Strategy is a long overdue development for Australian motorists.
“The integration of road, rail and research funding into one rolling 5 year plan is a welcome shift to a more strategic long-term approach to transport infrastructure, as is the recognition by the Government that a broader network of transport corridors require Federal funding”, Mr McIntosh said.
“It is a very detailed plan and it will take time to analyse all of its components, particularly those parts relating to private sector investment and Commonwealth/State funding arrangements.
“The AAA is pleased to see new funding included as part of the AusLink plan and welcomes the fact that the Government has announced funding for a number of the road projects identified by State and Territory Motoring Clubs as priorities.
“As the Government itself recognises, the projects announced today are the start of a process designed to give effect to the AusLink strategy. More funding for roads is necessary to achieve the full vision and the AAA looks forward to working closely with the Government in implementing and expanding AusLink.
“The Federal Government has committed $11.8 billion for transport infrastructure over the next 5 years. During the same period motorists will pay an estimated $67 billion in petrol excise and $16 billion in GST on fuel. The AAA would like to see a greater proportion of this revenue spent on roads.
“Expenditure on road infrastructure is an investment, not a cost, and the benefits accrue across the economy. We have a national target to save 700 lives in road crashes by 2010, and research clearly shows that better highways and roads will save lives, improve traffic and save the community more than the actual cost of the works”.
The AAA welcomes the acknowledgement in Auslink that “improving the safety of roads would account for almost half of the target reduction in the fatality rate”, Mr McIntosh concluded.