The hidden tax that should be on petrol receipts

As families pay more every year in fuel excise, new research shows Australians overwhelmingly reject governments spending a decreasing proportion of that excise on land transport. The proportion of fuel excise spent on roads and rail is projected to halve, to around one cent out of every four cents collected by 2020.

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) has released Keep Australia Moving; How Australians experience their transport options. The research report shows almost 90 per cent of Australians want more than 50 per cent of their fuel taxes to be invested into roads and rail.

RACV has long called for at least 50 per cent of fuel excise to be committed to transport funding.  Historically, it has only been 40 per cent, and it is projected to decline to 27 per cent by 2020. That is despite the rapid growth of our cities and an infrastructure backlog in the tens of billions of dollars in Victoria alone.

The future strength of the economy and our liveability in Victoria and indeed the whole of Australia, depends on a solid commitment to road and rail transport infrastructure spending by the party that wins the federal election.

Three key city-shaping projects that are vital for Melbourne and Victoria are the North East Link to complete the Metropolitan Ring Road, the Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel and the Western Distributor.

In regional Victoria, we need continued upgrades and safety improvements to the key highways and also a commitment to deliver the Shepparton Bypass.

Details of RACV’s Federal Election proposals can be found in the election tab of this blog.

AAA Chief Executive Michael Bradley said its research makes it clear that voters want more of their excise dollars going to transport projects that are capable of decreasing congestion and boosting their local economies, and that they are prepared to vote for the party that listens to them.

“Our research shows congestion is seen by Australians as having worsened over the past year, with many expecting it to deteriorate further in the coming year. Their dismay is supported by Government figures that show congestion currently costs our economy in Australia $16 billion per year and that this will rise to $53 billioni by 2031,” he said.

“While Australians may not have full view of the costs of having to rely on the transport systems of the past, it’s clear they know something is wrong; that they are not getting a fair return on their taxes. And it’s becoming clear they are considering taking action at the ballot box.”

The AAA research shows 41 per cent of Australians would be more likely to vote for a party that invested more funding from fuel excise in transport, with 14 per cent of those being surveyed being much more likely to vote for such a party.

The research also shows almost one in three motorists are unaware they pay fuel excise, which is why RACV and AAA are pushing for fuel excise paid at the pump to be included on the receipt, in the same way GST is displayed.

“This will help Australians understand how much tax they pay every time they fill up and to question their local politicians about where the money is going,” Mr Bradley said.

RACV is urging Victorians to contact their local candidates via www.keepaustraliamoving.com to demand road and rail investments in their community. It is not enough for less than half the fuel excise Victorians pay to be returned to Victoria to address the state’s transport issues.

For more information or to join the campaign visit: www.keepaustraliamoving.com or the election tab of this blog to keep up-to-date on Victorian transport issues in the election.

A copy of the AAA research can be found at: keepaustraliamoving.com/the-facts/

Written by Brian Negus, General Manager Public Policy
June 07, 2016