The recent call to ban trucks from the Pacific Highway at the lower end of the North Shore in Sydney is not unexpected. The Transport Workers’ Union is now asking how long before the call is out to ban truck drivers from all non-toll roads in Sydney?
Richard Olsen, NSW State Secretary of the Transport Workers Union said, “The Transport Workers’ Union have seen that call coming since the NorthConnex opened. Yet for heavy vehicle operators there are no free alternatives in place, there is no fairness for those operators who are paying three times as much as cars to be forced underground.”
“Heavy vehicle operators looking for alternate routes is another symptom of how broken the toll road system is. A cosy 40-year deal between Transurban and the NSW Government which has put a stranglehold on small trucking businesses and their families,” Mr Olsen said.
Transurban is targeting heavy vehicles to raise profits for their infrastructure business. In the meantime, income for transport workers is shrinking while costs like fuel and rego are accelerating. Drivers in many cases are unable to recover their costs from their clients.
Richard Olsen said, “Heavy vehicle drivers are working extra hours each day transporting goods for the people of NSW and trying to provide for their own families. Thousands of dollars of their earnings each year taken in tolls are not benefiting the road users in NSW but instead are lining the pockets of a company, which boasts billions of dollars in revenue and pays its CEO over $7 million.”
This does not benefit the economy of NSW.
To be forced to exit or enter Sydney via the M2, M7, and subsequently the NorthConnex costs around $60 each way. This is a major freight route. The TWU is aware that some fleet operators are being forced to pay upwards of $50,000 to $75,000 per year for toll road use. The cost of employing another driver is lost to Transurban each year.
The NSW Government did not speak with the TWU or others in the transport industry about toll roads and their costs, instead making promises to remove trucks from Pennant Hills Road, no matter what the cost is to the transport industry.
Richard Olsen said, “Toll roads in Sydney are stealing money from heavy vehicle operators at an extortionate rate. None more so than the NorthConnex Tunnel which has become a nice little cash earner for the company Transurban.”
Heavy vehicles are banned from Pennant Hills Road, or they face a $194 fine. The NSW Government added a new toll to an old road on the M5. Quarterly toll increases that benefit Transurban are applied to most toll roads across Sydney, where heavy vehicle operators pay three times more than cars.
Richard Olsen said, “The extortionate cost of simply doing their job is costing transport workers their income, their businesses, their ability to cover expenses like maintenance, and their lives. The NSW Government needs to address this now. The transport industry is integral to our lives and economies so the cost of doing business must be fairly shared.”