Democrats Transport Policy Ignores Facts and Hints at Higher Petrol Prices



The Australian Democrats policy to limit motorised transport fails to understand the needs of the community, the Executive Director of the Australian Automobile Association, Mr Lauchlan McIntosh said today.


"Detailed surveys have shown that motorists rely on their cars and do not expect to pay more for unnecessary and inflexible transport. This is particularly the case in regional and rural Australia where there is no public transport.


‘Motorists are paying substantially more for road infrastructure than they pay in fuel taxes and a backlog of over $2.6bn in essential road funding has already been already identified. In the 1980’s 75% of fuel excise revenue was used for road funding. This has been whittled away to around 15%. Rail pays no fuel excise.


‘Air quality in cities is actually improving and with new technologies in new engines and fuels further improvements will occur in both emissions and greenhouse gas generation. Congestion occurs because governments have not invested sufficiently to complete the necessary road networks. Reducing congestion by finishing the road network will improve our greenhouse gas levels. The Democrats’ claim of a worsening situation ignores the facts.


‘Penalising motorists and reducing their mobility is unnecessary and inappropriate. Are they suggesting higher taxes? Total fuel taxation for motorists already varies from 87% to 124% of the total price. The Democrats should commit to the process of fuel tax reform." Mr McIntosh said.


‘The AAA does not disagree with the Democrats’ concept of a national transport agenda and have been active campaigners for such an approach for many years. We would have liked to see some real commitment to incentives for manufacturers and refiners who are introducing cleaner technologies.


‘Safety of our existing roads and vehicles has been ignored by the Democrats. They recognise that almost 2000 people were killed on our roads last year but offer no solution apart from reducing traffic. Australia is 10 years behind world best practice in road safety. Removal of black spots, increasing road and vehicle standards must be a high priority for all parties. The Democrats should at least commit to the national target to reduce fatalities by 40% by the year 2010." he said.

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