Rego levy to pay for roads

A NEW levy to be added to car registrations from mid-year may help pay for regional roads as well as Sydney’s new $50 billion transport plan, the NSW Government has said.

A spokesman for Roads and Transport MinisterDavid Campbell said the Government was working on a regional equivalent of the Sydney transport blueprint, hinting that would be also partly funded from the levy.

The levy hits motorists with fees of up to $30 extra on their rego, depending on the weight of the car they drive.

The NSW Nationals and the NRMA have lashed the levy, saying it unfairly puts most of the burden for funding the transport plan on regional motorists, who typically drive bigger cars than people in metropolitan areas.

Figures released by the NRMA this week revealed a person driving a $115,000 Lotus Exige would be exempt from the extra charge because the car weighs only 942kg, while a Northern Rivers family driving a 1660kg Ford Falcon would be hit with the full $30 levy.

Rural Affairs Minister Steve Whan yesterday tried to take some of the sting out of the Nationals’ and NRMA’s attack, saying the legislation for the levy would include exemptions for farmers and pensioners.

“A trailer towed by an agricultural machine, such as a tractor or a harvester, is exempt and on-farm vehicles are exempt, and likewise pensioners with trailers will be exempt from the new motor vehicle weight charges,” Mr Whan said in a statement.

“Country Labor has stood up to ensure that regional New South Wales gets its fair share of Government spending, road spending and good train services, which is in stark contrast to the Nationals’ complete failure when it comes to representing people in regional NSW.”

Mr Whan also defended the introduction of the levy saying, because it was connected to registration fees, it could not be restricted by region, only by weight.

“Similarly, Sydney motorists paying the Harbour Bridge toll are also paying for improvements to regional roads, which will inevitably be used by some people more than others,” he said.

“What is most important is a costed plan for continual infrastructure improvements and unfortunately the Opposition are good at carping, but not much chop when it comes to costed solutions.”

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