Transport Policies Lack Vision
"The transport policies of both the Government and the Opposition lack any serious long-term vision for the next millennium", said Mr Lauchlan McIntosh, the Executive Director of the Australian Automobile Association.
Both parties provided a patchy approach to planning the road as an integral part of the national transport network. The recommendations of the ‘Planning not Patching’ report released in late 1997 appear to have been ignored and no provision has been made for the development and implementation of the new technologies associated with intelligent transport systems.
The Government continues to state the benefits from reduction in diesel fuel excise to transport costs without recognising the need to upgrade the links between the transport infrastructure modes and the introduction of new technologies.
The offer by the Opposition to a "substantial" increase in road funding of $50 million a year against annual spending of $1.7 billion is disappointing.
The commitment by both parties to blackspot funding is welcomed, but the level is relatively small compared to the total funding, and even smaller when considered against the funds raised through the indexed fuel excise.
Indexation of petrol excise in August this year provided $45 million to Federal revenue, so the claims of both parties regarding their commitment to $40 million worth of blackspot funding per year are the least that can be expected.
A comprehensive national strategy for transport is essential, not only for business, but for private individuals to ensure safe and cost effective mobility in Australia.