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City, rural motorists split on priority

Cough up: Australia’s motorists clubs want at least 50 per cent of the fuel-excise take to be spent on land transport infrastructure.

AAA survey shows city drivers want congestion action, rural drivers want safety

13 May 2019

CITY motorists say untangling traffic congestion is the number-one road and transport priority, while their country cousins are more focused on safer roads, according to 17,000 Australian motoring club members who have responded so far to an online survey by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) in the lead up to the May 18 federal election.


Curiously, two more options – the high cost of transport and the economic impact of poor transport planning – were seemingly not top of mind for either group of motorists who were asked to tick one or more boxes listing four apparent concerns nominated by the AAA on the opening page of the survey.


The AAA and its member clubs from all states and territories, representing eight million motorists, are campaigning for road users to get a bigger slice of the federal spending pie that is expected to haul in $56 billion in fuel excise alone over the next four years.


Federal election candidates are being bombarded with emails from motoring club members who agree to allow the AAA to forward individual survey results and comments to the politicians on their behalf.


AAA chief executive Michael Bradley said that when asked to rate their top transport priorities, 71 per cent of metropolitan respondents singled out issues related to traffic congestion.


“But in rural and regional Australia, 63 per cent cited road safety,” he said. “The ‘My Money. My Transport’ campaign empowers voters to directly tell candidates and political parties how they think their transport-related taxes should best be invested.


“Over the next four years motorists will pay almost $56 billion of fuel excise alone. That means this year, the average household will pay $1,288 in fuel excise.  Australians want more of these funds invested into transport.”


Mr Bradley said the AAA was calling on all sides of politics to re-invest at least half of all fuel excise into land transport infrastructure.


“We are also demanding a serious commitment to road safety issues, including a comprehensive response to the expert independent recommendations into Australia’s failing road safety strategy,” he said.


“The latest road toll figures reveal that a small decline in road deaths in 2018 has been all but wiped out in the first quarter of 2019. In the three months to March, there were 332 deaths on Australian roads – that’s a 19 per cent spike from the road toll from the last quarter of 2018, which stood at 279 deaths.”


Member clubs of the AAA are the NRMA of New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory, Victoria’s RACV, the RACQ of Queensland, RAA in South Australia, RAC in Western Australia, RACT in Tasmania and AANT from the Northern Territory.

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