Opinion

At last a toll win for owner-drivers in NSW

northconnex tunnel in Sydney

We have a win, there is now some relief for owner-drivers relating to toll roads.

For many years, owner-drivers have had little chance for cost recovery of their toll road costs. TWU members have remained worried about the exorbitant costs of toll roads and the impact on their transport businesses. Owner-drivers have told the TWU that the forced use of the NorthConnex means that many will now pay tolls where they never have had to before.

For many years the TWU has been putting pressure on the decision makers to make sure that you as a owner-driver are covered for toll road costs. We have had success in that approach and now the TWU have secured an agreement that means changes will be made to the Road Safety Contract. You now have a mechanism in place that will enable you to recover tolls from your principal contractor.

This means that your principal contractor will now be required to cover you for road tolls when you are on the job. They can provide you an electronic tag to do that, but in the long run, they are responsible for the toll road costs you incur moving their load.

For transport workers this is a necessary move because the targeting of truck drivers has continued. We all know that the number of Toll Roads are growing, we all know that the costs they create for owner-drivers in NSW are astronomical.

The TWU is frustrated that the deals made by governments are still enabling Transurban to continue their targeting of heavy vehicles with the sole purpose of increasing profits for their infrastructure business.

Despite being aware of the impact on small business, every day since the opening of the NorthConnex, the NSW Government have denied owner-drivers a free alternative route.

It’s not justifiable in the midst of the current pandemic that transport operators, including owner drivers have borne the brunt of Transurban’s Covid pain while Transurban without consultation to the transport industry, increased toll prices by up to 4 per cent a quarter. These increases will continue for decades and leave our grandchildren in debt for the future.

There is no congestion busting solution brought about by Toll Roads, instead there are more opportunities for the future growth of Transurban. The company already wants the Sydney Western Harbour Tunnel project and the proposed connection of the M7 to Badgery’s Creek.

We are still looking for a free alternative, to keep the roads fair.

The cost recovery win in the Road Safety Contract means a great step forward for a fairer Transport industry for owner-drivers. The TWU are still working, all through 2021 we will be maintaining the pressure to raise standards for transport workers. We urge you to join the fight with us.

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