Road Package Concerns Expressed by Motorists
The Australian Automobile Association has today expressed concern over media reports that the Commonwealth is planning to announce a $300 million per year road package over the next four year.
AAA Executive Director, Lauchlan McIntosh, said he hoped the reports were wrong and that the Commonwealth was planning to make a substantially higher per annum commitment over a longer period.
"While any additional road funding is welcome, $300 million per year will achieve very little across Australia. The Government's own Transport Department gave evidence to the Neville Inquiry three years ago that Commonwealth road funding was falling $300 million per year short of need," he said.
"The Commonwealth would have to spend $1.2 billion immediately plus $300 million per year just to catch up on the shortfall for the past four years and to maintain the current network properly.
"Any road funding program also needs to be seen in light of the additional tax the Commonwealth is taking from motorists. If the Prime Minister insists on applying full indexation to petrol in February, Commonwealth excise will have risen by over four cents per litre this financial year alone.
"The extra four cents in excise will give the Government an additional $1.3 billion per year in revenue at a time when it is reportedly offering motorists $300 million per year for roads as compensation. I don't believe too many people will see that as fair or reasonable," Mr. McIntosh said.
"I'd also publicly urge Government backbenchers to do their best to help the Prime Minister see reason over the fuel tax issue. He appears to have convinced himself that there will be no political advantage in freezing excise. As our latest polling shows, there will be considerable political disadvantage in rejecting a freeze and his stubborn refusal is likely to cost many of his backbenchers their seats at the next election.
"If Government members think motorists are angry now, they should consider what will happen in February when petrol prices rise by two cents per litre as a direct result of higher fuel taxes.
"I'd also strongly urge Government members to take the time to read our latest polling. If one or two cents per litre won't make a difference as the Prime Minister insists, why then does the polling show 33% of motorists are using supermarket discount vouchers to save one or two cents?" Mr. McIntosh concluded.