Wednesday, 24th February, 2010
Jessica Daniels is not impressed after finding out that she will be slogged up to $30 extra per year to pay for upgrades to Sydney's transport system.
The NSW Government's blueprint for Sydney transport, announced at the weekend, will see country NSW motorists help fund a $50.2 billion railway, bus, train and ferry upgrade they will likely never use through a hike in the vehicle registration tax.
Jessica, who recently bought last year's most popular small car, a Hyundai i30, said that wasn't fair. "Well I don't live in Sydney so how's that going to help me?," she said.
In announcing the plan, Premier Kristina Keneally said the policy, which would increase the registration on any car weighing more than 975kg, would also have an environmental impact by encouraging people to buy smaller cars. "That is also targeted as encouraging people to buy lighter vehicles. From an environmental standpoint that's a better outcome," Ms Keneally said. But Jessica said that wasn't fair either. The 21-year-old, who works two jobs to pay for her car, said one of the reasons she bought the 1,400 kg Hyundai was because of its green qualities; it's on the NRMA's most fuel efficient car list. But Jessica said that despite it being a small car, it could also handle long drives to bigger centres. "I like the way it looks, it's cheap on petrol and the price was good," she said. "I drive to Mildura. It has a good sized boot and ... I can have five people and everyone has enough room. "I feel sorry for people with families. There's not enough room for them - they'd need a four-wheel-drive if they had four kids, or something like that."
The local state MP, John Williams, said its was an unfair tax on the thousands of people who drive on dirt or substandard bitumen roads. "Proposing this tax, which is calculated by a car's weight, is ludicrous and will further disadvantage those living in rural and remote NSW who need a car that can handle our unpredictable roads because we do not have the ease of transport options offered to those living in Sydney."
A small four-wheel drive, such as a Toyota Rav 4, weighs more than 1,500 kilograms, while a Land Cruiser wagon weighs 2,630 kg. A two-door Hyundai Gets even weighs more than 1,100kg. "Under the tax, those who do not drive small cars under 975kg will pay between $5 and $30 more each year from July, yet works won't even start on the project until 2014, after the next election," Mr Williams said. "The Premier has completely lost the plot if she thinks that Murray-Darling residents will be willing to pay this money for inner-Sydney buses and rail they will never see or use. "For too long now, rural and remote Australia has been funding Sydney resident's lifestyles while we watch from the sidelines and fight for quality basics such as health, transport and education." The extra tax on vehicle weights will give NSW $500 million over the next 10 years, Mr Williams said.
The plan does not include any new roads or options for those living outside of Sydney.