The New South Wales government’s exclusion of small businesses with heavy vehicles from its new tolls rebate scheme will cost every household in the state more, warned the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad).
NatRoad chairman Scott Davidson said the Perrottet government’s decision is a blatant slap in the face for an essential industry that carried NSW on its back at the height of the pandemic.
“We understand that easing the cost-of-living for families is the NSW government’s main game but this will hike costs for those same voters,” Davidson said.
“Making rebates available to some owners of two light commercial vehicles but not operators of larger trucks is farcical, and the cost will inevitably flow through to supermarket and pharmacy check-outs.
“The vast majority of truck operators are small business people and they are already buckling under the pressure of losing their Fuel Tax Credit in the last federal budget.
“NatRoad members are working on a wafer thin profit margin of about 2.5 per cent.
“This sends them a message that the NSW government doesn’t care.”
Davidson said NatRoad had sent a message to the government when it appeared before a Parliamentary committee inquiry into tolls in September last year.
“We proposed variable toll rates for off-peak journeys or discounts for multiple journeys to keep trucks off suburban streets, improve environmental outcomes and make travel less congested and safer,” Davidson said.
“These are reasonable and constructive ideas that the NSW government, and its monopoly toll roads partner Transurban, have chosen to ignore.”
Under the new scheme, after NSW motorists spend more than $375 on tolls in a year, they receive a 40 per cent cash rebate on further charges, to be paid into their bank accounts.
The rebate is capped at $750 per year.
“The number of road users receiving toll relief will more than double,” Perrottet said.
“Almost 300,000 extra drivers will benefit.”