Government Action Required on Bracks
Australia's peak motoring body, the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), said today that ensuring cars become safer, cleaner and more affordable should be a priority of Australian Government vehicle industry policy.
AAA welcomed the Review into the Australian Automotive Industry recommendation that tariffs on new cars be cut from 10% to 5% in 2010, which will make new cars more affordable. However, new assistance measures for the vehicle manufacturing industry, including the proposed Global Automotive Transition Scheme which would provide $2.5 billion over 10 years from 2010, need to be tied to measurable and ongoing improvements in vehicle safety, emissions and affordability.
"With the review's recommendation that Government continue to buy Australian made cars, there is an onus on the Government to exercise the leverage it has as a major fleet purchaser to really effect change within the industry," AAA Executive Director, Mike Harris, said.
"With some five people killed and a further 75 hospitalised every day with serious injuries as a result of road trauma, the review's business-as-usual approach to safety is disappointing.
"Although the establishment of minimum safety standards is an important role for Government, the review has missed an opportunity to ensure that improvements are also driven by Government fleet purchases, greater support for consumer awareness programs like ANCAP, and establishment of a targeted Safe Car Innovation Fund.
"The proposal to bring forward the start date of the Green Car Innovation Fund is a logical step, but we want to be sure that the decision to double investment in the program from $500 million to $1 billion, is based on there being tangible benefits to Australian motorists, in the form of more efficient and cleaner cars.
"The proposed doubling of the grant for purchasing new LPG vehicles from $1000 to $2000 is a welcome step for motorists struggling to keep up with burgeoning fuel prices. We would hope that this step encourages the uptake of the best available technologies.
"We also welcome the recommendation that States and Territories consider harmonisation and reduction of stamp duties, vehicle registration and CTP insurance to facilitate the purchase of new vehicles which will help reduce the average age of the national fleet. This simply highlights the importance of ensuring that the Bracks Review, Henry Review and Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme are integrated into a consistent national policy approach by Government."