About NRMA Policy Team

The Government Relations and Public Policy Team carries out most of NRMA’s advocacy work to improve issues affecting motorists, such as safer roads, safer drivers, safer vehicles, transport economics and sustainable transport. The team also supports the NRMA Board in lobbying governments and organisations on behalf of our Members.

Half the Excise Duty is needed to fix up local roads

POT LUCK: The problem in regional NSW is even worse than Sydney with almost $3 billion needed.

POT LUCK: The problem in regional NSW is even worse than Sydney with almost $3 billion needed.

We renew calls for the Australian Government to return half of the fuel excise to fix roads. A $3.87 billion funding backlog is needed to bring NSW council roads up to a ‘satisfactory condition’.

The definition of ‘satisfactory condition’ is council’s estimated cost to bring the road to an acceptable standard. It does not include any planned enhancements to existing roads. It’s for the basics including fixing pot holes, repainting faded lines and gutters.

The NRMA report, Funding Local Roads used figures submitted by 152 NSW local councils to the NSW Government as part of their annual reporting obligations that summarised the money needed to fix local roads.

In metropolitan Sydney, councils have stated that $911 million was needed for road works while regional NSW councils needed $2.96 billion in funding.

Sydney metropolitan councils requiring the most money to bring their local roads up to a satisfactory condition were:

  • Liverpool – $149.6 million;
  • Ku-Ring-Gai – $110.3 million;
  • Sutherland – $67.9 million;
  • Hawkesbury – $62.6 million; and
  • Blacktown – $60.4 million.

NRMA President Wendy Machin said some local councils would take years to clear their backlog of roadworks at current funding levels.

“Some councils have no choice but to let bad roads get worse – the money is simply not there for them to fix roads within their boundaries,” Ms Machin said.

“It’s not the local councils who are to blame as the money they’re requesting isn’t for glitz and glamour – it’s for the basics including fixing pot holes, repainting faded lines and gutters.

“The problem in regional NSW is even worse than Sydney with almost $3 billion needed. Heavy rain can deteriorate local roads and this is why many regional councils are simply allowing previously sealed roads to turn to dirt.

“Fixing local roads also benefits the community as the cost of crashes to the NSW economy amounts to $2 billion each year.”

Funding Local Roads explores options to help clear the $4 billion needed to bring local council roads up to a satisfactory condition. These include a greater return to councils from the Australian Government’s fuel excise tax, increasing the NSW Government’s Local Infrastructure Backlog Fund and lower interest lending to councils.

Currently, $15 billion is collected by the Australian Government for all road users, from the fuel excise levy at a rate of 38.143 cents per litre for unleaded and diesel fuel purchases. Only 10 cents out of 38.143 cents collected from Australian motorists is returned to the road network.

Ms Machin said annual Australian Government investment in the NSW road network has varied between $3.6 billion and $6.2 billion over the past six years but more was needed.

“We are calling on the Australian Government to return at least half of the fuel excise tax collected into road funding and for a pre-determined allocation to go directly to local councils to help ease the $4 billion black hole that NSW councils are facing,” Ms Machin said.

What do you think? Do your local roads need investment?

Speak out!

NRMA to fight any unfair petrol tax hike

Fuel price excise increase

BOWSER GOUGE: Our Members constantly tell us that the price of fuel is one of their biggest concerns when it comes to motoring and the NRMA will ensure that our Members’ interests are forcefully represented at a national level.

NRMA Motoring & Services has condemned any potential move by the Abbott Government to increase the fuel excise as part of this year’s Federal Budget as a cash grab.

NRMA President Wendy Machin has slammed any move to increase the nation-wide tax on fuels, saying it’s an unfair increase which will hit nearly every Australian’s hip pocket, regardless of their individual circumstances.

“The Federal Government already collects more than it spends on roads and transport infrastructure, so there is absolutely no basis for this unfair tax hike,” said Ms Machin.

“Last year’s budget estimated $15 billion would be collected from motorists from the fuel tax, however Federal Government expenditure on roads for the same period was estimated at $3.9 billion,” she said.

“In other words only 10 cents out of every 38.1 cents per litre collected as the fuel tax is actually spent on road infrastructure, that’s less than a third.

“Many people have no option other than to drive, it’s an essential cost of living whether it’s getting to work or delivering the goods and services our country needs every day.

“Whether you’re dropping the kids off to school or visiting a sick relative in hospital, any increase in fuel tax will mean you will pay more.

“Any attempt by the Australian Government to increase the fuel excise without prior consultation would be viewed by the NRMA as a cash grab which would only serve to place increased pressure on the cost of living for everyday Australians.

“Make no mistake, increasing the fuel excise will mean we’ll have to pay more for what should be a basic right to mobility.

“The NRMA has long campaigned for the need for the road network to receive a fairer share of funding from the taxes that are currently paid by motorists, including the fuel excise.

“Our Members constantly tell us that the price of fuel is one of their biggest concerns when it comes to motoring and the NRMA will ensure that our Members’ interests are forcefully represented at a national level.

“Should next week’s Federal Budget reveal any potential increase to the fuel excise, the NRMA which represents 2.5 million Members, along with the other motoring clubs nationally, will step up their fight against any unfair and unjustified tax hikes on motorists.”

How you would feel if the fuel excise was increased?

Congestion costing businesses extra $5,000 a year: NRMA BusinessWise

GRIDLOCK:  A pricey message in a bottleneck on the congested roads of Sydney's West

GRIDLOCK: A pricey message in a bottleneck on the congested roads of Sydney’s West

Congestion in Western Sydney is getting worse and it’s increased the operating costs of 7 out of 10 businesses by as much as $5,000 in the last 12 months, according to the annual NRMA Motoring+Services BusinessWise congestion survey.

The BusinessWise survey of almost 730 fleet running businesses in Sydney’s greater western suburbs found three-quarters (77%) of businesses believed congestion had worsened in the last 12 months and 72% noticed an increase in congestion on weekends.

BusinessWise provides roadside assistance and fleet support to over 22,000 businesses across NSW and the ACT. BusinessWise also provides roadside assistance to heavy vehicle fleets.

Local businesses said that travel times for each vehicle had increased by a almost an hour (59 minutes) every day. The BusinessWise survey found that in the past 12 months, six out of ten (59%) businesses in greater western Sydney have seen an increase in fuel consumption as a result of congestion.

The survey also found that congestion had caused a:
- 37% have seen an increase in capital and running costs
- 31% have seen a slowdown in overall productivity
- 26% decrease in staff punctuality; and
- 24% reduced predictability of deliveries

In a positive sign for the Australian and NSW Governments, 70% of greater Western Sydney businesses support the WestConnex project. More businesses (45%) said they would use WestConnex and pay the toll than those that wouldn’t (35%).

The BusinessWise survey also found that three-quarters of business (74%) support the NSW Government’s clearways on major western Sydney roads like Victoria Rd and the overwhelming majority (97%) support the clearways roll out on major roads identified as having heavy weekend congestion.

NRMA President Wendy Machin said the BusinessWise survey showed local businesses were forced to allow more travel time for staff each day (75%) and almost half (46%) were forced to change staff shift times.

“The BusinessWise survey provides decision makers at all levels of Government with a gold mine of information on the impact congestion is having on the western Sydney economy – the second biggest in Australia – and the solutions needed to get Sydney moving again,” Ms Machin said.

“When the NRMA asked local businesses what solutions they would like to see introduced the majority (55%) want governments to fix traffic pinch points.

“We therefore urge The Australian and NSW governments to revisit the NRMA’s idea – introduced in the lead-up to the 2013 Federal Election – for a $150 million Congestion Busting Fund for local councils to fix traffic hot spots.”

The BusinessWise survey found that parking continues to be a major concern around Western Sydney’s key business hubs such as Parramatta, Penrith, Liverpool, Castle Hill, Campbelltown and Blacktown, with almost half (48%) struggling to find a park.

The BusinessWise survey results have added weight to recent calls for a major NSW Government department to relocate to western Sydney with two-thirds (61%) supporting the move.

NRMA Group CEO Tony Stuart said 84% of businesses believed such a move would lead to a greater focus on greater western Sydney’s infrastructure needs.

“The overwhelming majority of NRMA staff work from our North Strathfield office and our main patrol base is also located there, so when the NRMA talks about the transport infrastructure needs of greater western Sydney we do so from experience,” Mr Stuart said.

“BusinessWise Members think there is real merit in the Head Office of one of the major Government Departments – Treasury, Planning, transport or the Department of Premier and Cabinet – moving to western Sydney with the relevant Director General.

“When you travel to western Sydney every day you become acutely aware of what needs to be done to get the engine room of the state’s economy moving.”

Do you think congestion has worsened in the last 12 months? Do you think Western Sydney’s infrastructure would benefit from a government head office relocation?

Seeing red: have your say on NSW’s worst roads

NRMA Seeing Red on Roads Annual SurveyHave you ever been behind the wheel and found yourself frustrated by congestion, a detour due to roadworks, pot holes or other delays?

More than 15,000 frustrated Members had their say last year in our annual Seeing Red on Roads survey. In 2013, both a federal election year and the third of our campaign, we want even more people to get behind the survey.

Over the last two years of the campaign, our Members have consistently flagged the Pacific and Princes Highways as the worst roads in the state. In response, we’ve seen record levels of funding committed by the government to start fixing both these roads.

In fact, since NRMA’s first Seeing Red on Roads campaign in 2011, governments have committed over $1.8 billion to fix the Pacific Highway and $240 million to fix the Princes Highway.

The NSW Government has also announced its WestConnex Project to fix the road NRMA Members voted as the worst in Sydney – Parramatta Road.

These major announcements show that our campaign works!

Although we’ve made a great start in getting these dangerous roads upgraded, there’s no better time than an election year to ensure NSW secures its fair share of federal road funding.

We encourage every NRMA Member to take part in the Seeing Red on Roads survey. With your support we can help make sure NSW gets much needed road investments.

Are the pot holes on your local street driving you nuts? Is the snail paced traffic during peak hour on your local motorway frustrating you? Whatever the issue, have your say here.

Will the Pacific Highway come out number one again or have the recent upgrades provided enough relief for North Coast motorists?

Below are the Top 10 Most Frustrating Roads in 2012 as voted by you. Click on the image below to enlarge.

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New Course for Learner Drivers

Learner Driver

LEARN SMART: Just in case you missed the recent news on the new course for learners, which will give a reduction in logbook hours, here is the latest info.

We’ve had a huge response from Members since we posted on our site and Facebook page that from the 1 July 2013 learners will be able to complete a Safer Drivers Course and get a reduction in logbook hours.

Just in case you missed it, here is the latest information.

What does the Course involve?

The Safer Drivers Course is a combined theoretical and practical course. It will involve a facilitated group session discussing how to manage risks on the road and tailored in-car coaching addressing individual learning needs.

All up the course will take about five hours. The group session will run for two to three hours and the in-car coaching will be one to two hours.

The NRMA provided advice to the NSW Government Advisory Panel that developed the Course.

Do I still need to do 120 logbook hours?

Once you have done the Course your logbook hours reduce by 20 hours.

If you do the Course and do 10 hours of professional driving lessons your logbook hours go down to 80.

How much will it cost?

At this stage, we don’t know exactly how much it will cost to do the Course but the NSW Government has said the price will be affordable.

When will it be available?

The first group of learner drivers will do the course in July 2013. The Course will then be rolled out in NSW based on demand and provider availability.

What else has changed?

From 1 July 2013, learner drivers will be allowed to drive up to 90km/h instead of 80km/h. This will make sure that learners are supervised the first time they drive at 90km/h.

What do you think? Do you agree with these changes?