Around $13 billion the government collects annually from fuel costs should be entirely spent on improving transport, said the body representing Australia’s auto groups and their 8.7 million members.
The suggestion is part of the Australian Automobile Association’s policy priorities for the upcoming federal election, released on Sunday
His proposals include road safety improvements, stronger emissions testing for vehicles and support for electric cars, in addition to spending the main source of road construction revenue on building roads.
Australia’s fuel excise tax is just one contributor to the current record high petrol prices, but all the revenue it raises should be spent on transport infrastructure, rather than the 53.7 % that the group representing NRMA, RACQ and RACV declared to have been spent over the last decade.
“Australian motorists deserve every penny of their fuel taxes spent on projects that make their journeys faster, their families safer and their communities stronger,” said AAA Chief Executive Michael Bradley.
He said both sides of politics have been right to resist calls to cut the fuel tax, which is around 44 cents a litre, but whoever wins the next federal election has to actually spend the money it generates in transport.
Real-world vehicle emissions testing would help better inform new car purchases and address environmental concerns while saving drivers and businesses money, the AAA said.
The transition to electric vehicles is another major concern, with proposals to strengthen the electricity grid and install more charging infrastructure.
Reforming taxation by turning separate taxes on luxury cars, import duty, stamp duty and license fee into a single road user charge would help avoid a funding shortfall as people adopt electric and hybrid vehicles that consume less fuel.
The group puts the cost of more than 1,000 deaths and 40,000 serious injuries on Australian roads each year at $29 billion and wants the federal government to improve its data collection and reporting to better inform state decisions and save lives as well as money.
Alongside its member clubs, the AAA has also identified more than $200 billion in priority infrastructure investments, including expanding and upgrading highways, improving public transportation, and active transportation options such as as bike paths and pedestrian bridges.
The AAA says its proposals would create more than 500,000 jobs and generate more than $300 billion in economic activity.
Australian Associated Press