Cutting Sydney tolls must be high on Labor’s agenda: NatRoad

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has a clear message for the new Minns government in NSW – deliver on the promise to cut tolls.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says his NSW members regard tolls on the state’s privately-operated motorways as a major drag on their viability.

“The Minns opposition promised to cut tolls for heavy vehicles on the M5 East and M8 and we look forward to those commitments being delivered once it is sworn in,” said Clark.

“The pledge that heavy vehicle drivers will pay a third less in tolls for two years is welcome news.

“So is the appointment of former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Allan Fels as tolls commissioner.”

NatRoad suggested creation of such a position in evidence to a NSW Parliamentary committee in 2021.

“NatRoad sees this as the first step in untying the messy knot that is Transurban’s monopoly on the state’s tollways,” Clark said.

Clark urged the incoming government to consider NatRoad’s other suggestion of rebates or off-peak incentives to encourage trucks to use tollways.

“Expansion of the state’s heavy vehicle rest stops network and enhancing spending on road repair and resilience are other items at the top of the list for discussion with the incoming government,” Clark said.

Peak body Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) says it’s pleased that Labor has listened to its election priorities and is looking forward to working with new state Minister for Transport Jo Haylen and Minister for Roads John Graham to ensure that those priorities become a reality.

Labor announced a $1.1 billion package of road upgrades over the next three years; capped tolls for two years from 1 January, 2024 and pledged $20 million in funding for the creation of new, much-needed rest stops for truckies in and around Sydney.

It also ruled-out changes to the successful PBLIS, as part of a pledge to stop further privatisation of government assets.

“RFNSW has been advocating for major changes across the transport and roads sectors on behalf our members,” said CEO Simon O’Hara.

“We made it clear that our election priorities were aimed at supporting our hard-working truckies, as well as the wider community using the state’s roads each and every day,”

“Working as Shadow Ministers, Jo Haylen and John Graham listened to the concerns of RFNSW and have now acted to provide support to our freight industry. For example, the $20 million for new truck rest stops, is great news for truckies, given the lack of proper rest areas across the Greater Sydney Basin, including Port Botany and the new Western Sydney International Airport at Badgerys Creek.

O’Hara said that the new government’s pledge to cap the state’s crippling tolls, will cut the average truck toll by $8, saving a driver who does two trips a day, around $3800 a year.

“Its review of the toll network and the scrapping of an estimated $50 million in administration charges, should also result in some financial relief for truckies and other toll road users. RFNSW has long argued that the state government must incentivise truckies onto toll roads and we pleased that Labor has listened.

“Labor’s commitments for roads and transport are really positive for the freight industry and RFNSW looks forward to working with Ministers Haylen and Graham so we can keeping delivering better outcomes for our members and the community.”

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