NRMA Policy Team

About NRMA Policy Team

The Government Relations and Public Policy Team carries out most of NRMA’s advocacy work to improve issues affecting motorists, such as safer roads, safer drivers, safer vehicles, transport economics and sustainable transport. The team also supports the NRMA Board in lobbying governments and organisations on behalf of our Members.

1-in-3 confess to a long weekend sickie: NRMA Travel survey


Almost a third (31%) of people confessed to having chucked a sickie (or planned to do so) to extend a long weekend, and Easter was the second most likely holiday to do so, according to a survey conducted by NRMA Travel.

Gen Y were most likely to chuck a sickie (48 per cent said they’d done it or planned to), and was significantly more likely to go on a short trip at least once a year (72%). The survey revealed more than half (55%) planned to head away on an Easter weekend trip, with a beach getaway the most likely destination (34%).

The NRMA Travel survey, while not designed to encourage sickies, has been launched to raise the profile of the appeal of domestic tourism in Australia and people’s travel habits.

NRMA is one of Australia’s largest domestic tourism operators, owning holiday parks across Australia, including Treasure Island Holiday Park which was ranked Best Australian Hotel for Families by Trip Advisor for 2017, as well as Travelodge Hotels, the Hotel Kurrajong in Canberra, as well as Thrifty Car Rental.

NRMA Executive General Manager, Travel and Touring, Paul Davies said while the organisation didn’t promote people taking ‘sickies’, it did encourage people to take advantage of the long weekend or school holidays to explore some of the incredible destinations in our own backyard.

“This research indicates that domestic trips are so appealing people are willing to go to all sorts of lengths to get out and about,” Mr Davies said.

“Long weekend trips are great fun but we know that people don’t need to take sickies to enjoy them – Aussies have 134 million annual leave days stockpiled so we encourage people to do the right thing and use that annual leave to enjoy time away with family and friends in Australia.

“We know that driving holidays are gaining popularity, and the survey results proved just that with two in three telling us they preferred to travel by car for a long weekend getaway, and at least once a year,” Mr Davies said.

“NRMA’s strategy is to promote and invest in domestic tourism, which is one of the reasons we have reached an agreement to acquire Australian Tourist Park Management (ATPM).

“We have some of the world’s best holiday destinations in Australia; visiting them supports local tourism and local economies and one of the best ways to do that is by jumping in the car to discover those destinations for yourself.”

The survey also found:

  • When going on a driving holiday, alarmingly, only 38 per cent of women thought they were the better driver than their partner, while 84 per cent of men thought they were a better driver than their partner
  • The key reason to go on a long weekend trip (50%) was to spend quality time with friends or family
  • Seventy-seven per cent plan to keep kids subdued while travelling with technology (tablets, DVDs, talking books)

If you’re thinking about a getaway this Easter, make sure you download the my nrma app so you can plan the best place to by fuel and check out NRMA Holiday Parks for a beautiful family destination of your choice.

- Think twice this Easter break  - double demerits will be in force

Do parents make good driving instructors?

Teenage Girl Learning How To Drive

“Do as I say not as I do” - Learner drivers are being exposed to both good and bad driving habits from their parent instructors.

Parents are teaching their children incorrect and potentially dangerous habits on the roads, according to a survey conducted by NRMA Driver Training.

Almost half (49 per cent) of the surveyed 415 learner drivers in NSW and the ACT identified that there were road rules that their instructor had made them aware of that their parents/supervising driver had not.

It also revealed that 30 per cent of respondents have had their parents/supervising driver teach them something that their instructor has claimed was wrong. The majority of these related to roundabouts – specifically when to indicate.

“Reverse parallel parking. Mum tried to teach me, but she doesn’t have a step by step method that she goes by, she just does it by feel. In this case this is what I needed as a learner.”

The survey also found learner drivers were being exposed to their parents’ bad habits, with the worst offending habits being:

  • Speeding (37%)
  • Not indicating (29%)
  • Mobile phone use (20%); and
  • Road rage (9%)

If you are keen on teaching your learner driver you may want to supplement your teachings and allow your learner to do a NSW Safer Drivers course that not only helps with getting 20 bonus logbook hours but also teaches important techniques on how to manage risks on the road.

Are you a good driving instructor or do you think you need to brush up on your driving skills before supervising your kids?

10 tips to keep the kids safe while driving these school holidays


HELP: Bored children in cars could become an annoying distraction for drivers

Parents need to remember: reducing the risk of distraction means reducing the risk of a crash that could result in a devastating end to the holidays

Almost 40 per cent (36%) of crashes caused by distractions occurred as a result of distractions from within the vehicle. As many as one in 10 fatalities in NSW have been attributed to driver distraction.

Kids aren’t used to road trips as part of their normal routine so they’re more likely to become bored, agitated or fight with their siblings.

Road trip recommendations from the NRMA include:

  1. Load up fully-charged smart devices with family-friendly movies (in case of poor internet service) and make sure each child has their own headset so the only tunes the driver hears are the ones they choose to play through the radio
  2. Refreshments are also important for a stress-free journey. Pack healthy snacks and plenty of water.
  3. If packing toys, try to make sure they’re not sharp (crayons or pencils) as these can become dangerous in the event of having to stop the car suddenly.
  4. Play games to take the monotony out of the trip, these can include getting children to follow their route along a map, count windmills or even count NRMA Patrol Cars!
  5. Sleep is the only effective guard against tiredness: so don’t cut your sleep short to reach a destination sooner.
  6. Drive to the conditions of roads, not to the speed limit.
  7. Make sure you stop in a safe place every two hours and get out of the car; plan a beach stopover for the kids if driving on the coast.
  8. Pack plastic bags and baby wipes for unexpected spills or accidents.
  9. Pack a ball to encourage the whole family to actively enjoy rest stops.
  10. Make sure your child restraints are fitted properly and if you’re not sure, have them professionally fitted or inspected. Premium Care Members can get a free child restraint installation from the NRMA.

Sticking to these tips as well as applying a good amount of common sense can help make a family holiday a safe one.

What tips do you have to share?

Do you have Road Assist from The NRMA? Don’t get caught without it.

Towing? Do your research

Four wheel drive with caravan

When we’re in the market for a new vehicle it’s customary to take into account its looks, level of comfort and fuel economy, as well as other factors like safety and handling, before we even contemplate signing the dotted line.

But if you intend to use it to tow a caravan, boat, trailer etc., you must do your research. Otherwise you might find out on the wrong part of your holiday that your SUV can’t tow 3000 kilograms of caravan after all, or you don’t have the right level of roadside assistance care. Sometimes the towing limits change with specification levels, tow bar type, engine or transmission choice and with model updates.

Before purchasing the vehicle you need to understand a few things:

  • the legal requirements for towing;
  • the manufacturer’s recommended towing specifications;
  • the vehicle’s towbar specifications – many manufacturers offer different levels of towing ability depending on the tow bar package purchased.

Did the dealer explain the towing capacity when the trailer is braked or unbraked?

Most vehicles are able to tow up to 750kg without the need for brakes to be fitted to the trailer. However, if you do want to tow a caravan, boat, horse float or trailer that weighs more, it will need to be fitted with its own brakes that activate when you press the brakes in the vehicle. We recommend an inertial or motion sensing brake controller for the best performance.

While they may assure you the car is up to the task, you can’t take their word for granted. If you’re not provided with enough information, you might feel like they just want a sale – and you could be right.

On the other hand, when buying a caravan you’ll need to shop within the limitations of your car. There’s no point buying the perfect caravan that weighs 200kg more than your vehicle can tow, or one that will put too much load on your tow ball, because you’ll never be able to tow it anywhere or you’ll have to buy a new car. Again, double-check the facts. If you’re not provided with the necessary information, don’t do the deal.

Finally, and this is important, make sure you have the right level of roadside assistance cover for your caravan or trailer. NRMA Premium Plus covers anything up to 10 tonnes including up to $3,000 in breakdown benefits, including accommodation, car hire and onward travel for you and your passengers if your car has a major breakdown or accident an can’t be rebooted on the spot. A lower level of roadside assistance won’t do the job.

Do you have any other tips?

- For more information on towing, check out our Learning how to tow story.

LPG vs. Petrol

Untitled-2While the price of petrol is currently low, compared to what it has been for the past few years, some observers say it must go up again eventually.  If it does, you may want to think about  converting your car to LPG.

The Federal Government rebate is no longer available and, due to the complexity of modern engines, the conversion cost has increased, so make sure you get a firm quote from an LPG installer before proceeding. Your pay-back period will depend on your vehicle and how far you drive each year.

But have you got all the facts?

Environmental impact

The environment wins if you make the change, leading to lower greenhouse emissions. The Australian Government has calculated that the mass of CO2 (greenhouse) gas released from the exhaust pipe by the burning of one litre of fuel is:

  • 2.3 kg for Petrol
  • 1.5 kg for LPG.

LPG = Fewer kilometres per litre

You can expect a 15-30 per cent increase in fuel consumption over petrol per kilometre because the lower energy content of gas requires more to be burned in the engine compared with petrol and you have to factor this into your calculations.

In knowing all this, is a change to LPG worth it?

You have to be sure all the figures add up and that you are going to be better off economically if you convert. Another option is to buy a second hand car that was manufactured with LPG fitted, such as the Ford Falcon LPi models. These are LPG-only (ie, no petrol system is fitted at all). They are no longer available new but were produced for several years up to 2014, so there are a good number of low kilometre examples available on the market at reasonable prices. The Holden Commodore was also offered for a couple of years with a factory-warranted LPG system.

You can keep up to date with daily fuel prices by monitoring NRMA’s fuel pages. Thinking about purchasing a LPG vehicle? NRMA Car Loans offer great rates to NRMA Members.

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