NRMA calls for more fuel excise revenue to fix roads

The National Roads and Motorists’ Association (NRMA) have released a report highlighting a $456 million funding backlog needed to bring Central Coast and Hunter council roads up to a ‘satisfactory condition’, renewing calls for the Australian Government to return half of the fuel excise to fix roads.

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. The NRMA report, Funding Local Roads, used figures submitted by councils to the NSW Government as part of their annual reporting obligations that summarised the money needed to fix local roads. Gosford Council said it needed $70 million to bring its local roads up to a satisfactory condition. NRMA local director Kyle Loades said some local councils would take years to clear their backlog of roadworks at current funding levels.

“Councils are crying out for money to fix the backlog of pot holes, repainting faded lines and gutters,” Mr Loades said. “The Central Coast and Hunter regions have fastgrowing populations and local roads must be of the same quality as the main thoroughfares such as the Pacific Motorway and Hunter Expressway. “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.

Mr Loades 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,” Mr Loades said.

Media release,
28 Jun 2014
The National Roads and
Motorists’ Association