Truckies doing two trips a day, five days a week on the M5 East and M8 in Sydney will save up to $3800 a year if Labor wins the NSW state election on March 25.
That’s just one example of a number of proposed cost-cutting changes promised by opposition leader Chris Minns who wants to see a sweeping review of the toll network headed by former ACCC chairman Professor Allan Fels.
The new scheme, which would run for two years from January 1 next year, reduces the truck toll from three times that of a car to two times, and is capped at 10 trips each week.
“The government’s decision to put a new toll on a 20-year-old road is forcing truck drivers to use local roads, causing traffic chaos and congestion and hurting businesses,” said Minns.
“Labor’s toll relief policy will deliver more toll relief for small businesses, get trucks off local roads and provides a fresh start for our state’s toll network and the drivers who use them.”
The proposed changes for truckies will be introduced at the same time as a $60 weekly toll cap for regular motorists.
The change would be on top of the Perrottet government’s existing 40 per cent rebate of up to $750 for eligible drivers and M5 cashback scheme, which truckies are excluded from.
Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) CEO Simon O’Hara says it is good to see that kind of mindset “permeate” into Labor, and that Minns and Shadow Roads Minister John Graham have taken on what the association has been advocating for some time.
“There’s still more work to do but it’s a big step in the right direction to recognise that truckies need [toll] relief,” said O’Hara.
The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) agrees.
NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says Labor’s pledge for expanded toll rebates for motorists who are heavy toll road users needs to be matched by incentives to take trucks off suburban streets.
“The opposition says specific measures for trucks are on the way and our response is: ‘Bring it on’,” Clark said.
“It’s great to hear that the opposition has adopted our recommendation to a parliamentary committee that a commissioner for toll roads be appointed to examine the current regime’s impact on heavy vehicles.
“We’d welcome any such appointment and we note that one of the things on the commissioner’s agenda would be ways to get more freight on toll roads at night, which is something else we have pushed.”
RFNSW and NatRoad were invited to participate in a review of tolls by NSW Treasury and Transport but their reports are yet to surface.
The government says it has conducted a review of Sydney’s tolling system, initally due for completion last September, but its release is now delayed until after the election next month.
Last week Transurban, which controls 10 out of 12 of Sydney’s tolls roads, said drivers paid over $835 million in tolls in just six months.