You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Families spend up to $22,000 on transport

AAP logoAAP 22/08/2016 By Anna Hitchings

Australian families are forking out up to $22,000 to get around on capital city roads and public transport networks every year.

About 13 per cent of the average household income is being spent on transport, with families in western Sydney facing the highest costs, the Australian Automobile Association's first Transport Affordability Index shows.

AAA chief executive Michael Bradley said the figures were remarkable considering electricity, water and phone costs accounted for just one to three per cent of combined income.

"You always hear politicians talking about gas and electricity prices but what we're saying is transport is far and away the higher cost," Mr Bradley told AAP on Monday.

The data was obtained by analysing tax, tollways, public transport and finance costs across states and territories over a quarterly period.

The AAA index figures, which will be updated every three months, are based on a hypothetical household of a couple with children and two cars, where one parent drives to work and the other catches public transport.

Those living in western Sydney were hit hardest, with yearly transport household costs hitting the $22,000 mark, compared to $14,000 in Hobart.

Car loan repayments accounted for the largest share of a family's transport costs, followed by fuel, public transport, registration and licensing.

"For most people transport is just an unavoidable cost, and the people who have greatest capacity to improve the situation are our governments," Mr Bradley said.

He said one way of lowering transport costs would be to lift import tariffs Australians must pay to buy vehicles from overseas, a move he estimates would save drivers $690 million a year.

The NRMA echoed his comments, saying road and rail projects were necessary to relieve costs.

"Anything that can be done to alleviate that pressure must be looked at by decision-makers today because it is simply too expensive to do the things that families need to do," NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury told reporters.

Action for Public Transport spokesman Jim Donovan called on the NSW government to inject more money into improving public transport rather than roads.

The AAA report coincided with a study commissioned by the Committee for Sydney, which found while the city was "highly liveable" compared to 32 of its global rivals, its public transport and roads were sub-par.

"Congestion in Sydney drains productivity and degrades quality of life," the study said.

"Sydney needs to maintain a sharp focus on these issues if it's to achieve its potential for urban excellence."

WEEKLY HOUSEHOLD TRANSPORT COST:

* Sydney $419.06

* Melbourne $348.49

* Brisbane $375.64

* Perth $300.99

* Average national $323.36

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon