Regional motorists are disappointed a state government discount on car registration won’t apply to them.
The so-called “rego rebate” will make motorists spending more than $25 a week on toll roads eligible for free registration, at a cost of about $100 million in the first year alone.
Riverina driving instructor Glen Gaudron said regional motorists with little access to public transport had been ignored.
“This is one of the most expensive states for registration,” Mr Gaudron said.
“They should be able to afford to give a little back and drop the rego cost on all cars if they’ve got that much to give away. The roads in Sydney are much better than here, we’ve got to pay for the extra wear and tear.”
A report from the Australian Automobile Association found the average Riverina household spent more than $13,000 on transport each year, or about 10 per cent of total income, far less than the Sydney average of $22,000.
However, the report’s figures were based on the assumption that motorists in the Riverina drove fewer kilometres than their Sydney counterparts, but the AAA did acknowledge that regional motorists had less access to public transport and paid more for fuel.
MP Daryl Maguire said the government was working to reduce costs to motorists across the state and pointed to recent green slip reforms and $6 billion country infrastructure investment as proof the regions weren’t being forgotten.
“We’re always looking at reducing the cost of living pressure across the state,” Mr Maguire said.
“We don’t have toll roads like city drivers do, they need investment to reduce some of the outrageous costs businesses suffer and that includes country trucking and transport companies. We need to get products to ports, to market … in a round about way (Riverina) benefits because this drives tax revenue and then we can do things like reducing green slips.”
An NRMA spokesman said country drivers would save about $50 on their green slip from December 1 thanks to the reform.
Greens transport spokeswoman Mehreen Faruqi accused the scheme of being a “a sneaky way to help fill the deep pockets of private companies”.
“If this government is serious about addressing the cost of living, they should (make sure) people have real and affordable alternatives,” Dr Faruqi said.