The 22nd Cost of Living Report released today by the Northern Territory Council of Social Service (NTCOSS) focuses on sky-rocketing petrol prices and other transport cost pressures.
Surge in transport costs hitting hardest on lowest income households in the NT
NTCOSS proposes Ten Point Plan for Affordable Transport for the NT, including a call for urgent changes to the motor vehicle registration concession.
The report calls on the NT Government to index the Motor Vehicle Registration Concession in-line with yearly cost increases, and for the concession to be extended to Centrelink Health Care Card Holders.
“Over the past 12 months in particular, motorists in the NT have seen steep increases in the price of automotive fuel (20.3%), and over `the longer term (the past 5 years) there have been steep increases as well as other essential transport costs including registration and insurance (25.7%) and spare parts (20.4%), all rising above the rate of inflation” says NTCOSS Policy Adviser, Jonathan Pilbrow.
“Transport is essential for people looking for work, who are in education or training, or for accessing health services, banking and shopping; with costs making-up nearly 13% of average weekly household expenditure.” “Only housing, food and recreation take up more of the average household budget.”
Petrol and diesel prices
“Unleaded fuel and diesel prices have increased across the whole of the NT, and remain much higher than the national average – with the Tennant Creek and Alice Springs regions having the highest unleaded prices in the Territory, while diesel rose 15% on average across the NT.”
The report also finds:
- Expenditure on vehicle parts and accessories is highest in the NT, and more than double the national average;
- Expenditure on vehicle charges including crash repairs, vehicle maintenance and licence fees are also highest in the Territory;
- The poorest households in the NT spend a much greater proportion of income on transport costs, compared with those in higher income brackets;
Transport Affordability Index
- Transport Affordability Index data shows that transport costs in Darwin and Alice Springs have continued to rise at a rate much higher than general inflation
- Darwin had the largest cost increase of all capital cities in the past year, of $282.
- Alice Springs had the greatest increase in costs for a comparative regional centre, of $257.
“Car access is particularly important for people in remote or regional areas where public transport options are limited or non-existent.”
“The Motor Vehicle Registration Concession has remained at the level of $154 per 12 months (or $77 per six months) since 2010, while fees have gone up by $170 for 12 months (for a small vehicle) in this time.”
“In 2017 The NT Government restructured the concession system; however, no changes were made to the Motor Vehicle Registration Concession.”
“While governments have limited options when it comes to influencing petrol prices, they can certainly help alleviate the cost of car registration, and that’s why we are calling on the NT Government to rectify this missed opportunity.”