The Canberra Liberals have unveiled a suite of policies designed to drive down the cost of motoring in the ACT, including a $100 cut to car registration but they have refused to say how they will pay for it.
The rego policy will cost $25 million a year or $100 million over four years, and continues the Liberals’ targeting of the hip pocket nerve, but like the party’s promised rates freeze, Leader Alistair Coe has ignored questions about how it will be delivered, sticking to well-rehearsed lines about lower taxes and better services.
Mr Coe accused the government of gouging Canberrans, although the cost of registering a vehicle has fallen since the government’s Compulsory Third Party insurance reforms.
Mr Coe says his plan would save the typical two-car Canberra family about $200 a year from 1 January.
He said the lower rego would be in line with that of NSW, and it made sense to match what people pay in Queanbeyan.
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The Liberals will also make night-time parking after 5.30 pm free for six months and deliver about 2,500 new parking spaces, mainly across Canberra’s smaller group centres, through its $50 million Local Parking Fund.
Urban Services spokesperson Nicole Lawder said that a Liberal government would identify the parking gaps and roll out the new spaces over four years.
She said the city car parks would also benefit from a ”green” makeover including grass, vegetation and trees, as part of the party’s Million Trees pledge.
The party also plans a city-wide trial of transferable parking tickets across government car parks.
On the city’s roads, vehicles carrying three or more passengers will be able to use transit lanes, currently the preserve of buses and taxis, and new technologies will be trialled to improve traffic flows and introduce real-time monitoring to alert drivers to road construction works so they can plan their daily travel better.
Transport spokesperson Candice Burch said Labor and the Greens were punishing people for using their cars.
”We, of course, want more Canberrans to use public transport and active travel; however, we also acknowledge that these are just not viable options for many Canberra families, and many Canberrans do need to rely on their vehicles to get to and from their work and to and from school,” she said.
Mr Coe would not say whether the Liberals would be abandoning or changing the current Transport Strategy or how the ACT would achieve its greenhouse gas emission goals under these car-friendly policies.
But he said he would have more to say on a public transport policy Canberrans would want to use, not be forced to use.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the Liberals’ rego plan would mean a lot less revenue to deliver services, and if there was a cut to revenue there had to be a commensurate cut to services.
He said the government’s CTP reforms had delivered a $60 reduction in motorists’ combined CTP/registration costs.
A Labor spokesperson also said the Liberals needed to explain where these new car parks will be and what green space they would take away, just like they need to explain how they will spend more money, without cutting services or growing government debt.