Road tolling in NSW will be put under the microscope today as a parliamentary inquiry, pushed for by Labor, begins in Sydney.
The long overdue examination of the NSW tolling system will look at how tolls are set, including how the fee, duration and increases are determined.
Representatives from private toll corporation Transurban as well as Sydney Motorway Corporation and Greater Sydney Commission are due to give evidence alongside Transport for NSW, Roads and Maritime Services, Department of Planning and Environment, Transport Workers’ Union of NSW, Tolling Customer Ombudsman and Toll Redress.
It comes as Sydney motorists continue to get stung by tolls day in and day out and brace for a new toll on the M4, with little information available to the public about how tolls are set.
With eight new toll roads on the horizon for Sydney (NorthConnex, Western Harbour Tunnel, Beaches Link Toll Road, F6 Extension, M4 Widening, M4 East Tunnel, New M5 and the M4 to M5 link), it is more important than ever to get the tolling system right.
NSW Labor has a Tolling Transparency policy, which calls for:
IPART to approve all future tolling contracts as being in the public interest;
Tolls not to rise above CPI;
The Auditor-General to review all pre-existing road toll contracts; and
Toll free periods on all new toll roads.
Western Sydney residents will be hit hardest when the NSW Government re-introduces a toll on the M4 this year. The toll will be capped at $4.21 which means a regular commuter from Penrith to the CBD will be slugged more $2,189 per year.
Labor abolished the previous toll on the M4 in 2010. The new toll is a 53 per cent increase on the toll Labor abolished.
Upper House Labor members, Greg Donnelly MLC and John Graham MLC will put questions to the business, community and Government organisations attending.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Roads Jodi McKay
“Labor fought for this inquiry which is long overdue.
“The Government has an agenda to impose new and higher tolls on NSW roads and now they will have to justify how they determine the cost and duration of those tolls.
“I hope, as a result of this inquiry, the Government will be forced to implement a fairer, more transport tolling system.”