National Motoring Body Celebrates 75th Anniversary
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Australian Automobile Association, the umbrella body of the state and territory motoring organisations.
The AAA was founded by the seven clubs and associations already in operation - NRMA, RACV, RACQ, RAA of SA, RAC of WA, RACT and RAC of Australia. Together with the AANT, which was formed in 1963, they remain its constituent organisations.
The establishment of a national body enabled them to speak with a stronger, united voice on behalf of motorists and has provided a range of benefits to their members.
Included on the agenda for the AAA's inaugural meeting in 1924 was the radical proposition for governments of the day that they adopt uniform traffic laws, signals and road signs.
Ironically, that objective should finally be attained by the end of 1999, when national road rules which remove most of the state and territory anomalies are scheduled for implementation.
One of the earliest and most significant achievements attributable to the AAA was the agreement by the state motoring organisations in 1928 to offer reciprocal road service, an initiative which provided an enormous boost, not only to their membership, but to motoring generally and interstate travel in particular.
Today, reciprocal service arrangements extend to more than 100 similar organisations around the world through the AAA's affiliation with the International Tourism Alliance (AIT) and International Automobile Federation (FIA).
With most of the motoring clubs and associations having been closely involved in motor sport since their inception, it was not surprising when, in 1932, the AAA became the country's official motor sport authority.
However, the growing complexity of motoring issues saw the control of motor sport activities transferred to the newly formed Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) in 1952, allowing the AAA to concentrate on its primary function as the national motorists' advocate.
In this role, it makes frequent submissions to the Federal Government, Parliament and politicians as well as providing direct input to motoring-related policies through membership of various government and industry bodies.
The AAA also co-ordinates the development by the state and territory motoring organisations of national services and benefits, such as the accommodation classification scheme.
At the international level, it is the issuing authority on behalf of the Federal Government for International Driving Permits, 'AUS' plates and the official documents required by motorists taking their cars abroad, known as Carnets.
As the representative of 6.3 million members Australia-wide, the AAA is the fifth largest motoring federation in the world.