Motorists have no idea of how tolls are set. Whether they represent good value for taxpayers is not known. This is because the amount of the toll and the length of time it will be paid are decided behind closed doors.
For example, tolls on the WestConnex will increase by four per cent a year, even if the CPI is less than that. The public was never consulted about this toll and whether above CPI increases are fair and justified.
The Liberals and Nationals have gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal the facts from the public. For example, the Government’s Sydney Motorway Corporation, the owner of the WestConnex, was exempted from freedom of information laws.
It is time for tolling transparency.
It is essential that the negotiations with the tolling companies are transparent, that road users receive value for their tolls and that the public interest is not short-changed.
Labor has put forward a package of measures to increase tolling transparency and create a fairer tolling system for all road users:
- Future tolling agreements will involve an independent regulator such as IPART to determine whether the contract is in the public interest
- No future tolling agreements will allow above CPI increases
- The Auditor General will review tolling agreements
- A methodology to justify tolling differentials for trucks is to be published