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A transport system for the 21st century

A safe, fair, efficient transport system

Australia’s economy and quality of life rely on safe, efficient and affordable transport. But all data suggests that our national land transport system has failed to keep up with growing demand and technological change, and our living standards are suffering as a result.

Transport costs are rising, our roads have never been more congested, and important road safety targets are being missed. Continued failure to address these issues will only magnify the harm being done.

Australia urgently needs well-planned and comprehensive policy action to renew its land transport system. The Australian Automobile Association calls on the major parties to commit to:

1. developing a White Paper that maps out the necessary reform of Australia’s land transport system

2. immediate investment in policies, programs and infrastructure that will upgrade the system’s capacity and operation.

Top priorities

1. Make our roads safer

About 100 people die every month on our roads. Road toll and injury reduction targets, agreed to by all
governments, are not being met.

Candidates and parties should commit to:

an urgent and detailed response to the recommendations of the Inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy

establishing a national office of road safety.

2. Planning for the future

There is no long-term strategy to plan, fund and build Australia’s nationwide transport infrastructure.

Candidates and parties should commit to a Land Transport White Paper that:

sets a policy framework and the outcomes that are expected over the next 10 to 20 years

rolls out an agreed 10-year infrastructure program

modernises state-federal infrastructure funding and project prioritisation arrangements.

3. Funding for major projects

Australia’s land transport network is under significant strain. This stress is exacerbated by a growing backlog of road and transport upgrades that worsen congestion and harm our economy.

Candidates and parties should commit to:

critical infrastructure that the AAA and its member clubs have identified in all States and Territories.

To see the AAA priority transport projects in your state visit: www.aaa.asn.au/mytransport

4. A fairer deal for motorists

Over the next four years motorists will pay about $60 billion in federal transport-specific taxes, including 41.6 cents paid in excise for every litre of fuel.

But less than half of net fuel excise is reinvested back into our roads and public transport.

As more people transition to ultra-low fuel consumption vehicles, the government’s revenue from fuel excise will decrease.

Candidates and parties should commit to:

greater transparency with a requirement that all fuel dockets display the amount of fuel excise paid

transition towards road user charging for all vehicles - start by investigating how to bring ultra-low fuel consumption vehicles into the road user charging system, and follow this with full reform for light vehicles. (Implemented in a way that does not discourage the take-up of ultra-low fuel consumption vehicles.)

allocate at least 50% of net fuel excise (and the full road user charge on ultra-low fuel consumption vehicles) into a dedicated land transport infrastructure fund.

 

5. Cleaner cars

Consumers want affordable and cleaner cars. They also want confidence in the information provided about fuel economy and carbon emissions. The gap between laboratory testing results and real-world performance is huge, and getting wider.

Candidates and parties should commit to:

An independent real-world vehicle emissions testing program in Australia to measure the emissions performance and fuel consumption of new vehicles in real-world conditions

publishing independent testing results on the Government’s Green Vehicle Guide website

a CO2 standard for new light vehicles developed in conjunction with measures that address noxious emissions and fuel quality that reflect Australia's unique motoring needs

incentives, such as tax exemptions, for research and development into electric vehicle batteries and related technologies

removing federal taxes that discourage purchasing ultra-low fuel consumption vehicles

developing a road-map for new infrastructure and legislation reform that facilitates electric road transport.

6. Affordable motoring

Tariffs and taxes designed to protect the now defunct Australian car manufacturing industry will add $5 billion to the total cost of new cars sold over the next four years.

This unfair tax burden stops many people from upgrading to safer, cleaner and more cost-effective vehicles.

Removing these redundant taxes would:

bring down the price of new cars

encourage purchase of safer and cleaner cars

incentivise the uptake of new vehicle technology

Candidates and parties should commit to:

removing the luxury car tax and the remaining 5% tariff that applies to vehicles imported from non-free-trade agreement countries.

Long-term reform

The AAA calls on all parties to commit to developing a Land Transport White Paper. This Policy Platform outlines why the White Paper must:

  • establish the process for developing and maintaining a fully funded 10-year infrastructure program
  • define a pathway for structural reform of the nation’s transport taxation and funding arrangements
  • clarify and modernise state-federal infrastructure funding and prioritisation arrangements
  • identify and plan infrastructure investment to facilitate emerging mobility technology
  • be delivered no later than the end of 2020.

Immediate investment

Australia’s land transport network is under significant strain. This Policy Platform outlines the policies, programs and infrastructure that the AAA expects all parties to commit to, so that our land transport system will be:

  • safer
  • fairer for all Australians
  • more efficient
  • more supportive of a productive economy.

The AAA believes this investment should be funded through the hypothecation of at least 50 per cent of net fuel excise into a dedicated land transport infrastructure fund.