Record roads boost but drivers still slugged in tax

RACQ has welcomed today’s State Budget which it said would deliver a record $23 billion in roads and transport infrastructure over the next four years to Queensland drivers.

Traffic on the Pacific Highway at Mudgeeraba

The Club’s Head of Public Policy Rebecca Michael said after a horror few weeks of fatalities on Queensland roads, she was pleased road safety funding was front and centre.

“We’ve seen the accelerated delivery of more than $500 million in projects in 2018/19 and it would be great to see this trend continue, and save more lives,” Dr Michael said.

“The extra funds spent in the last year mean Queensland motorists can enjoy the benefits sooner than we were expecting.

“We’re also glad to see investment in the Pacific Motorway and Bruce Highway, as these major State-controlled roads are claiming lives in crashes and are often crippled by congestion – equally it’s great to see the regions getting their fair share of funds.

“The 2019/20 will see $5.6 billion in capital investment to improve our road and rail network, with more than $900 million allocated to targeted road safety initiatives.”

Dr Michael said while the State Government had promised to fill several funding gaps, some of the most critical projects had missed the cut.

“Stage 3A of the Gold Coast Light Rail and Exits 41 and 49 on the Pacific Motorway have seen some funding but not enough to make these projects a reality,” she said.

“There’s been signs of improved inter-governmental collaboration but there’s still a long way to go to resolve funding shortfalls.”

Dr Michael said while roads and infrastructure were clear winners, it was also disappointing drivers would be slugged with tax hikes on vehicle rego and licence fee increases which were tied to a hypothetical consumer price index (CPI) forecast.

“From 1 July, Queenslanders will be $20 worse off than they would’ve been if increases were capped at the actual CPI rate, and not a hypothetical forecast – this will see registration go up by 2.25 percent,” she said.

“The Government should act on its promise to keep fee increases in line with CPI, or better yet, commit to freezing rego for the next three years.”