Community News

NRMA calls for Pacific Highway duplication to be sped up

Just days after the latest rise in the fuel excise, the National Roads and Motorists’ Association has used its 2016-17 Federal Budget Submission to press for the completion of the Pacific Highway duplication and for a $150 million Smart Infrastructure Fund for local councils. Last week the excise rose to 39.5 cents on every litre of petrol sold. Since 2014 this has been re-set to rise twice annually. NRMA local Director Wendy Machin renewed the organisation’s call for a greater proportion of the fuel excise to be spent on roads and transport. “Total road funding in the current financial year is projected to $7.1 billion, while the fuel excise will generate some $15.2 billion,” Ms Machin said. “NRMA has consistently emphasised the national benefits of providing a minimum dual lane divided carriageway between Hexham and the Queensland border. Any acceleration of work along the 155km section between Woolgoolga and Ballina, being one of the more challenging sections, would significantly reduce accidents. “We urge the Federal Government to work with the State Government to expedite the current preconstruction timetable to complete the final duplication before 2020.” Ms Machin, who is also a board member of Destination NSW, said the NRMA had invested more than $280 million in hotels, holiday parks, travel services, and car hire over the last nine years. “Tourism drives significant economic activity in Australia, but this activity underperforms against the broader economy,” she said. “We recommend that the Government provides funding that will support existing and future campaigns to tourism campaigns.” Ms Machin said the budget submission also recommends the establishment a $150 million Smart Infrastructure Fund to help local communities tackle issues such as congestion, parking, road safety and community transport. “The idea is to encourage innovation by trialling technology solutions that could be replicated elsewhere,” Ms Machin said. A new aspect of the NRMA submission was the retention of in-vehicle data by carmakers, a practice that greatly restricts the owner’s right to choose their repairer. “This shouldn’t and mustn’t belong by default to the car’s maker,” Ms Machin said. “Owners must have the right to choose their preferred service provider and to be able to change this at will if only to ensure independent service providers are not driven out of competition. When you buy a car, you should safely assume that you have ownership and control over the data your car produces. “The NRMA calls on the Federal Government to amend the Competition and Consumer Act accordingly.” See the NRMA’s full budget submission at