The Royal Automobile Club of Queensland, the RACQ, was established as the Automobile Club of Queensland by 12 motorists in 1905. These were horse and buggy days when there were very few car owners, only a primitive road network and motor vehicles were considered a menace.
From modest beginnings, membership has grown to 1.2 million, 30,000 of whom have been members for over 50 years. Formed as a mutual organisation that continues today, its aims were to represent and protect the interests of its members as road users.
Over more than a century, it has successfully become the preeminent voice in advocating for more and safer roads thereby contributing significantly to the development of a statewide road network. The roadside assistance service which provides a mantle of safety for drivers throughout Queensland commenced in 1925 and has been operating 24 hours a day ever since. The RACQ attracts 6 million telephone calls each year and in over 90% of requests for roadside assistance, it enables the motorist to begin or recommence their journey. The RACQ has set the global benchmark for best practice in roadside assistance and for excellence in customer experience. Similarly, it has a proud history of community service through, amongst others, the RACQ Foundation and the RACQ Care Flight Service.
Adding to these achievements, the RACQ is now a major contributor to the Queensland economy with annual revenues exceeding $1 billion, net assets over $1 billion and funds under management of $1.5 billion. It is the largest motor vehicle insurer in Queensland and the 6th biggest insurance company in Australia. The RACQ is also a major employer with over 2,000 staff and more than 1,000 contractors throughout the state, thereby making a major contribution to economic activity in regional Queensland. Every town in Queensland has an RACQ representative. Its regular magazine, The Road Ahead has a print run of approximately 1 million every 8 weeks together with 500,000 recipients of the electronic version.
Like all organisations, the RACQ is confronting profound change through the pace of technological innovation in motor vehicle design and vehicle monitoring capability. It is committed to, and prepared for, future success through adapting to such changing circumstances, as it has for almost 110 years.
The RACQ is an important part of the fabric of Queensland and will always have “the mind of a business but the heart of a club”.