Plans to slug regional motorists with a new levy to help pay for Sydney’s Transport Plan have sparked a chorus of protest on the north coast.
The Ballina MP, Don Page says the state government is considering raising registration fees by 30 dollars to help fund the program.
He says a user-pays system would be more appropriate and fairer to country drivers.
Mr Page says the money wasted on the now-defunct Sydney Metro project could have been better spent on the north coast.
“They’ve already spent $200-million on that project which is now going to be completely wasted and of course that rubs salt into the wound in terms of the north coast because way back when they took away our train from the Casino-to-Murwillumbah line the mooted cost to put it back was about 150 million,” Mr Page said.
The state member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser says any money raised would be better spent fixing ‘death traps’ on the Pacific Highway.
“They are going to expect country motorists to pay an extra $30 a year on their registration to subsidise a transport system that most people probably will never use,” Mr Fraser said.
“They’re now trying to buy votes at the expense of regional constituents who will have to pay the taxes to make it work,” he said.
Meanwhile, the transport development officer with the Northern Rivers Social Development Council says she initially hoped news of the proposed registration hike was a blunder.
Linda Loman says transport problems in regional areas are constantly being ignored.
“I was surprised, devastated, there’s a lot of different emotions I think that are associated with that, I’m just actually hoping that it was a big blunder, that they are actually only going to be charging metropolitan residents with that sort of tax,” Ms Loman said.
“I mean we pay a lot of taxes and we do not get the same level of service in return across the board,” she said.