Regional groups slam transport plan

Lismore MP Thomas George has joined the chorus of disapproval at the government’s plan to slug all NSW motorists with an increase in registration costs, with the money going towards the $50 billion metropolitan transport plan.

The new tax will vary from $5 to $30 depending on the weight of the vehicle and is expected to raise $500 million a year for the government’s coffers.

Premier Kristina Keneally announced the transport plan last Sunday, which dumped the controversial CBD metro plan and reinstated the north-west rail link, and also added billions more to be spent on buses, car parks and other road-based improvements around Sydney.

But people in regional areas are incensed that they are being hit with a new tax to fund services in the city.

“Under Labor’s transport plan there are no new roads or public transport options for people living outside of Sydney,” Mr George said. “This plan will do nothing for people living in my electorate who have to put up with poor public transport and roads which need upgrading.”

NRMA Motoring and Services president Wendy Machin weighed into the fray, saying that “Regional NSW motorists will be paying higher registration charges to fund Sydney-centric transport projects and will not see any of this money reinvested in regional roads – many of which are in poor condition.”

The NSW Farmers Association was also unhappy with the plan, saying it will unfairly impact on country people.

“To expect farmers to pay for improvements to city transport when they register heavy vehicles necessary for their business is ludicrous,” president Charles Armstrong said. “While we understand the need for improvements in our growing cities, even basic maintenance is being ignored west of the divide.”


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