$1.28 helps NSW take out petrol State of Origin: NRMA/RACQ

STATE v STATE: The NRMA and RACQ have conducted the state versus state analysis for the first time to highlight the discrepancies in petrol prices across states.

STATE v STATE: The NRMA and RACQ have conducted the state versus state analysis for the first time to highlight the discrepancies in petrol prices across states.

The inaugural state versus state petrol analysis for 2014 conducted by the National Roads & Motorists’ Association and RACQ has revealed that NSW had the cheapest petrol price for the year, with a low of 127.9 cents per litre for regular unleaded fuel recorded in Sydney.

In true State of Origin fashion, the contest was extremely tight, with Queensland’s cheapest price for the year recorded at 128.9 cents per litre in Brisbane.

The average price in NSW for regular unleaded fuel for the period from 1 January 2014 to 16 November 2014 was 147.7 cents per litre. By contrast, QLD’s average was 151.6 cents per litre. Alarmingly, Queensland’s highest average price of 165.5 cents per litre broke the record, exceeding the previous record in 2008.

The NRMA and RACQ have conducted the state versus state analysis for the first time to highlight the discrepancies in petrol prices across states. As families prepare to travel for the summer holidays, it is hoped the data will add insight into petrol price movements and give information to motorists before filling up.

The state versus state analysis found:

  • The cheapest centre in QLD for average prices was the Sunshine Coast 149.3 cents per litre
  • The cheapest centre in NSW was Sydney: 148.1 cents per litre
  • The most expensive centre in QLD was Weipa: 178.8 cents per litre
  • The most expensive in NSW was Tumut:  164.2 cents per litre

NRMA President Kyle Loades said the NRMA/RACQ analysis would hopefully shed some light on petrol prices in the two states.

“This is the first time our two clubs have conducted this sort of research and it is about helping to give our Members in both states more information about their local petrol prices,” Mr Loades said.

“NSW had to wait nine years to reclaim the State of Origin, however with more independents south of the border we are not surprised that NSW petrol prices are slightly lower. Regardless of which state you live in, the presence of independents means more competition and lower prices.”

RACQ spokesperson Renee Smith said fluctuating petrol prices in both states meant it was more important than ever for motorists to shop around.

“Support those service stations keeping their prices down, and if you live in Sydney or Brisbane where what you pay is impacted by the petrol price cycle, purchase at the bottom of the cycle when fuel is cheapest,” Ms Smith said.

“While NSW may’ve taken out the battle at the bowser this year, we hope strong competition in parts of QLD such as the Sunshine Coast gets us over the line in 2015.”

NRMA Farm Rescue hits the road

ON THE ROAD: The @buyabale  #FarmRescue bus Sydney bound to collect volunteers! If you see it, please tweet @edwina_b @sunriseon7 @NRMA with #FarmRescue or #FarmyArmy.

ON THE ROAD: The @buyabale #FarmRescue bus Sydney bound to collect volunteers! If you see it, please tweet @NRMA with #FarmRescue or #FarmyArmy.

This weekend a team of 40 NRMA Member volunteers will be boarding a bus and heading to the remote north west town of Lightning Ridge.

Why send a team of skilled tradies (who we’re calling the Farmy Army) into 40+ degree heat for a week? For one very simple reason – to help drought-stricken farmers in need.

After NRMA Members and employees raised over $75,000 for Buy a Bale earlier this year, we’re upping the ante and pitching in to help with our very own hands. In partnership with Buy a Bale, our Farmy Army will deliver hundreds of on-farm jobs from 22-28 November for farmers experiencing extreme hardship in the Lightning Ridge and Goodooga regions. The jobs list to date includes everything from fixing fences and repairing tractors, to unblocking pipes and providing the odd massage.

As an adventure seeker and avid blogger (but with no validated farm-skills of note!), I’ll be following the team 750km upwards and inland to write stories, share photos and upload videos from the road.

HELP:

HELP: As a trained mechanic and jack-of-all-trades, NRMA Patrol and volunteer, George Whisker, said he’ll be focusing on getting as many engines back up and running as he can.

Patrol George Whisker, who has been with the NRMA for almost five years, is joining the Farmy Army rescue mission and is looking forward to the challenge.

“I think it’s important to try and give something back to the community with a skill I’ve been doing for 35 years. I don’t really know what to expect, but I’m looking forward to it and keeping an open mind,” George said.

“If I can help one person then that’s my goal achieved, but hopefully we can help many more,” he said.

As a trained mechanic and jack-of-all-trades, George said he’ll be focusing on getting as many engines back up and running as he can.

“An engine’s an engine whether it’s a Rolls Royce or a lawnmower – if it’s mechanical then I’ll give it a go,” he said.

“I’ve done a bit of homework already and it seems the majority of problems are with tractors and all types of vehicles. There’s a motorbike in parts that I’ve put my hand up for – apparently it was taken to pieces but they forgot how to put it back together!”

With temperatures set to soar into the mid-40s and the last drop of rain falling three years ago, George isn’t too worried about the heat or the 5am ‘farmers’ starts.

“I’m half Greek so I’ll probably put a jumper on – I love the heat! But I’ll definitely be pacing myself and drinking plenty of water. I’m not really an early morning person, but I’ll make a special effort for this week.”

George said there are two reasons he put his hand up to volunteer as part of the Farmy Army.

“I’ve always been a people person and like helping others. One of the best things about my job as an NRMA Patrol is I get to meet a variety of different people and help them out every day,” he said.

“Plus the wife said Lightning Ridge is where they mine opals, so I’m hoping to find one on the street!”

Stay in touch with Farm Rescue updates next week by keeping an eye on:

Do you have any story ideas or insights you’d like to hear about our Member volunteers or farmers in the Lightning Ridge and Goodooga regions? 

Casualties plummet on upgraded Princes Highway

The NRMA's latest review of the Princes Highway, covering almost 430 kilometres from Dapto to the Victorian border, tells "a tale of two roads".

The NRMA’s latest review of the Princes Highway, covering almost 430 kilometres from Dapto to the Victorian border, tells “a tale of two roads”.

Injury crashes have plummeted by as much as 90 per cent as a result of upgrades to the Princes Highway to the north of Jervis Bay, according to the National Roads & Motorists’ Association’s latest review of the Princes Highway.

The NRMA review compared the most recent five year data provided by the NSW Centre for Road Safety with the previous five years data. It assessed 428 km of the Highway from Dapto to the NSW/Victorian border. It tells a tale of two roads, with almost 300 km of the Highway south of Jervis Bay Road classed as high risk, compared with just over 30 km in the northern section.

It also reveals the huge benefits from investing in safer roads, with injury crashes plummeting by as much as 90 per cent as a result of recent Highway upgrades.

The review found that re-routing and upgrading the Highway to a dual lane divided carriageway between Oak Flats and Kiama slashed injury crashes by 48 over the five year period to 2012.

In contrast, there are 16 sections of the Highway to the south of Jervis Bay Road that continue to be rated a high risk for motorists. Together these 16 sections resulted in 523 injury crashes and 22 fatal crashes in the same period.

Key findings of the audit include:

  • From 2008-2012 there were 1,014 casualty crashes resulting in 45 deaths and 1,401 injuries (2003-2007 there were 1,015 casualty crashes, 64 deaths; 1,441 injuries);
  • Three-quarters (75%) of all injury crashes occurred on undivided sections of the Highway, rising to almost 90 per cent (89%) in rural sections
  • Upgrades to the Highway mean that nearly one-fifth (18%) of the Highway is now rated by the Australian Roads Assessment Program (AusRAP) as low or medium-low risk, almost double the amount from the previous five years (9%)
  • The proportion of the Highway that is now classed as high risk has increased to 77% (64% 2003-2007) reflecting an increase in traffic and risk on those sections that have still not been upgraded
  • The cost of injury crashes on the Princes Highway through lost productivity and the provision of emergency, health and welfare services has fallen to $483 million (2003-07: $610 million).

NRMA local Director Alan Evans said the Princes Highway Audit painted a clear contrast of the broad benefits achieved when Government invested in the road network.

“Sections of the Princes Highway that have been upgraded have seen a dramatic fall in fatalities and injuries and reduced congestion – as well as delivering economic benefits to local businesses,” Mr Evans said.

“The fact that injury crashes fell by almost 90 per cent along certain upgraded sections highlights the enormous benefits that can be achieved when we invest in fixing dangerous roads.

“By contrast, sections of the Highway – particularly south of Jervis Bay – that haven’t been upgraded continue to claim innocent lives at an alarming rate.”

The NRMA review identifies a possible staged approach to the Albion Park Bypass that would help to keep people moving in the short term before the full bypass is constructed.

It also suggests ways to improve the approach to the North Kiama exit ramp, which would reduce confusion for motorists and reduce the risk of rear-end collisions and traffic congestion.

The audit also revealed that while traffic volumes south of Jervis Bay may not justify the complete upgrade to dual lane divided carriageway, two-by-one lane upgrades divided by crash barriers and greater use of wire rope crash barriers would considerably reduce crash rates and save lives.

“This report provides the Government with clear measures to build on the good work undertaken in recent years to make the Princes Highway safer, less congested and a better asset for local communities and businesses along the South Coast,” Mr Evans said.

“The Pacific Highway has taken too long to upgrade and as a result too many lives have been lost – we don’t want to repeat these mistakes with the Princes Highway.”

Do you agree that the upgraded sections of the Princes Highway are safer to drive on?

New changes to road rules

country-road-australia-92119789

Emergency and incident response vehicles are now allowed to travel in breakdown lanes, in one of two major road rule changes in recent months.

Motorists will see NRMA roadside patrols, police, fire, rescue, ambulance vehicles, and tow trucks using the breakdown lane or road shoulders on fast moving roads to access breakdowns under the recent Road Rule Amendment 307-2.

In the second road rule change which was brought in recently, drivers no longer need to report a minor collision to police, even for insurance purposes.

If a vehicle needs to be towed and no one is injured, drivers can now simply exchange details, organise their own tow and leave the area. You should only call the police if another driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or if they fail to stop and exchange details.

If an injury develops after the fact, a collision can be reported at a later time to the Police Assistance Line on 131 444.

NRMA local Director Michael Tynan says an informed motoring public is a safer motoring public.

“Being aware of changing rules and road use can alleviate confusion if motorists find themselves in breakdown or minor collision situations,” Mr Tynan says.

“NRMA roadside patrols, incident responders and tow trucks can now use breakdown lanes to reduce response time to stranded motorists.”

Got a great idea? Jumpstart it!

BACKERS: NRMA  and Slingshot have put heads together to bring you Jumpstart. If you know a creative entrepreneur who needs backing, put us in touch!

BACKERS: NRMA and Slingshot have put heads together to bring you Jumpstart. If you know a creative entrepreneur who needs backing, put us in touch!

The NRMA, with the support of several external partners, has combined skills to identify, train and mentor trail-blazing businesses with the Jumpstart program.

Jumpstart aims to help entrepreneurs get their idea off the ground by giving them the three things they need most – seed capital, office space and a mentor program.

NRMA President Kyle Loades says NRMA is one of a handful of Australian organisations actively seeking out smart thinkers that need help launching or growing a business.

“NRMA is serious about nurturing small businesses that have a very real potential to be relevant to our 2.4 million Members. We are offering start-up and scale-up businesses a package of benefits to progress their idea or to expand,” Mr Loades says.

NRMA will provide each successful applicant with:

  • potential to access more than 2.4 million NRMA Members
  • $30,000 funding
  • stimulating workspace at ‘hubs’ in Sydney or Newcastle
  • comprehensive training
  • inspiring mentors

“Jumpstart is actively seeking business concepts that fit four themes Smart Services, Connected Cars, Connected Members and Member Lifestyle. These areas have huge potential to benefit our Members.

Jumpstart is run by Slingshot Accelerator and supported by external partners, Artesian Venture Partners, UTS Business School, the University of Newcastle, PwC and Sparke Helmore Lawyers.

With these partners, NRMA will embark on one of the largest Member focused accelerator programs undertaken in this country.

 Ever had a great idea but haven’t been sure how to action it? This is your chance.