When no news is bad news

For heavy vehicle operators there is no relief in sight from the privatised Transurban toll road network. 

Your hard-earned dollars are pouring into the pockets of shareholders at Transurban because of the deal made between that private company and the NSW Government. 

We know that in the New Year, costs on the Sydney WestConnex motorways will increase by six percent. 

Earlier this year, across Sydney inflation hit other toll road charges, those charges increase again in January 2023. 

For many operators there is no choice but to use toll roads, the inequality continues that forces heavy vehicle operators into the NorthConnex tunnel or face a fine. 

Transurban told their investors, they were “well positioned to benefit from the inflation-linked toll charges which would boost revenue.” 

Now enters Dominic Perrottet, the NSW Premier who continues to appear to forget that truck drivers with small businesses are paying three times the amount for every toll road they drive on. 

The Premier announced in October: “I think we need a system that puts further downward pressure on prices for families across NSW, it needs to be done in a holistic way, and we need to get it right.”

Mr Perrottet is only outlining how his NSW Government is providing relief for those who drive cars, but he is refusing to provide relief for heavy vehicle operators and he is refusing to let them know when the NSW Treasury review into NSW toll roads will be delivered. 

In the meantime, small business, heavy vehicle operators continue to shut their businesses down under the pressure of increasing costs. 

Simply put, there are no answers for truck drivers. TWU members still question the costs of toll roads, still question the constant increases and still question the deal made between Transurban and the NSW Government. 

The costs of doing business are at a crisis point in transport. Operators are shutting down, and there is an absence of solutions from the Perrottet government for reform of the toll road regime.

Currently the Perrottet government stands by the ideal that toll roads and the costs are your problem. Toll road costs are devastating for the small businesses in the transport industry; we know the very tight margins they are under. Operators are facing a significant and growing list of expenses that more often than not they are unable to recover from their contractors.

Our members have already stated that there must be published information or data that justifies the rate of road use charges for heavy vehicles. 

Transport workers have received zero consultation over toll roads and I would suggest that is where the NSW Premier should start. 

  • Richard Olsen is TWU NSW/QLD State Secretary

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