The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) has released its Federal Election Policy Platform, calling for both sides of politics to consider transport policies needed to improve safety, affordability, and mobility in the coming decades.
The paper urges both the Federal Government and Opposition to commit to urgently developing a Land Transport White Paper to clarify how Australia will plan, maintain, and fund the transport infrastructure of the future.
The AAA’s platform also calls for significant nationwide investment in transport infrastructure coupled with the creation of a national office of road safety; fundamental taxation reform; and a transition plan to move us away from a fuel excise-based funding model, to a user-pays road access charge.
AAA CEO, Michael Bradley, said that Australian motorists will pay almost $60 billion in federal taxes over the coming four years.
“Without significant reforms, they will continue to get a very poor return on their investment.
“With congestion continuing to worsen, transport costs continuing to rise, and national road safety targets all being missed, voters want their taxes ploughed back into the roads, trains, buses, and cycleways needed to relieve pressure and get their lives flowing again.
“There are few cheap solutions, but unlike many other groups seeking a share of federal funding, motorists bring their own money to the table.
“Our transport system isn’t keeping up with growing demand, and our economy and quality of life are suffering as a result.”
The AAA say that over the past ten years, only half of the fuel excise paid by Australian motorists found its way back into the federal land transport budget. And under the current Federal Budget’s forward estimates, this proportion is set to fall to just over 30 per cent by 2021.
Australia’s last Transport White Paper was released in 2004 and in the 15 years since, the nation’s population has grown by 25 per cent and transport technology and consumer demands have both changed dramatically.
A recent AAA survey of more than 2000 motorists found that 67 per cent of respondents believe government did not have an effective, properly funded transport infrastructure plan that would meet Australia’s future.
Eighty-four per cent believe decisions to invest in transport infrastructure are based more on politics than on community needs.
“Transport investment is good economics, but we can’t simply invest on an ad hoc basis,” Mr Bradley said.
“The development and management of our national transport system is today fragmented and unfocused and until we rectify this, consumers will continue to face longer commutes, higher costs, and a less safe network.”
The AAA’s Federal Election Policy Platform delivers a detailed outline of the reforms needed to develop a transport system for the future, as well as a state-by-state list of priority projects identified by the AAA’s member clubs.
View the AAA’s Federal Election Policy Platform here.