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by Tim Beissmann

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) is calling on the government to direct an increased share of fuel excise towards land transport funding and road safety ahead of the upcoming national budget.

AAA executive director Andrew McKellar said it was “deeply concerning” that funding for roads and other land transport infrastructure was expected to be cut by 38 per cent – or more than $2.6 billion – in the 2012-2013 financial year.

“There is a direct link between well targeted investment in transport infrastructure and reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads,” McKellar said.

While he admitted the government should be congratulated for its record levels of roads funding in 2011-2012, he said the “substantial drop” in future spending was unacceptable given the scale of the fuel excise.

“Motorists pay 38.1 cents per litre in fuel excise but an average of only 10.9 cents per litre is returned by the federal government in the form of investment in roads – the bottom line is that motorists are being taken advantage of,” he said.

Over four years, the AAA projects a $36 billion shortfall between fuel tax revenue and investment in land transport.

The AAA is calling for the creation of a ‘Black Links’ program aimed at reducing the number of high-risk highways in Australia, building on the government’s existing Black Spot scheme.

Australia’s road toll dropped to 1292 in 2011, down 4.4 per cent from the previous year, and down to its lowest level since 1946.

More than 30,000 people are seriously injured on our roads every year, with the total impact of road trauma estimated at $27 billion annually.

The recommendations are part of the AAA’s pre-budget submission to the government. The AAA oversees Australia’s motoring clubs (NRMA, RACV, etc.) whose cumulative membership is approximately seven million motorists.




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