October 30, 2020

The NorthConnex The Toll Road Lies and Rorts

The NorthConnex opens in the early hours of this Saturday Morning.

The NSW Government’s deal on toll roads with Transurban has robbed our future and has left a debt for our children and grandchildren. The people of NSW including Transport Workers had no say on the deal.

The Transport industry is integral to our lives and economies so the cost of doing business must be fairly shared.

Richard Olsen, State Secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union of NSW said “Transport workers are having to take a stand because the debt left to our children and grandchildren by the 40-year deal created between the NSW Government and the toll road Operator Transurban, also trading as Linkt, is a rort.”

“Transport workers and the people of NSW had no say in the deal. The toll road monopoly in NSW has allowed toll road bully Transurban to rort transport workers through tolls and administration fees. This has left our members frustrated, unable to see over the mounting pile of expensive toll notices on their kitchen tables,” Mr Olsen Said

Now the Toll road prices increase every quarter and heavy vehicle users face government discrimination, forced to use the NorthConnex toll road or face fines.

Transurban is targeting heavy vehicles to raise profits for their infrastructure business but are not providing a “congestion busting” solution.

The TWU Asks the Question, if the NorthConnex is better for the economy, why are road users being forced to use the tunnel. The NorthConnex Tunnel also removes the opportunity for better fatigue management by drivers by limiting the number of places that a truck driver can pull up and rest.

Richard Olsen, NSW State Secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union said, “TWU members and operators in the transport industry are telling me how the exorbitant cost of toll roads are impacting their businesses.”

“Owner drivers have told the TWU that the NorthConnex means that many will now pay tolls where they never have had to before,” Mr Olsen said.

One heavy vehicle Owner Driver who parks his truck just north of the NorthConnex told the TWU “Last week I didn’t have to pay tolls to get to work. Now I need to pay $250 per week out of my pocket just to get to and from work. After the costs of doing business I earn about $1000 per week, next week I’ll only earn $750. That’s a 25% pay cut over night.”

Fleet Operator Rob Woolley of SC Woolley told us his fleet is at Mt Kuring Gai. Rob’s fleet operations will over the next year incur a $60,000 toll bill with the NorthConnex opening. They have previously not have had to pay tolls and the NorthConnex opening now provides a major impact on their business.

At this time there is no means by which many owner drivers can recover their costs.

The TWU are calling on the NSW Government to ensure:

  • No New Tolls.
  •  Compensation for any toll road increases from 2020 and that compensation scheme will remain in place until the pandemic is finished.
  • A cap on the tolls commercial vehicles pay.
  • In the future the NSW Government and Transurban will help operators of commercial vehicles facing hardship, even though Linkt and Transurban are currently refusing to do so.
  • Industry Agreements will include clauses that include compensation for the costs of using toll roads.
  • Government will make cost recovery easier by locking fair payment times into legislation. Transport industry businesses and owner-drivers should be paid within 30 days.
  • ·Government can show leadership and share the responsibility for a fairer industry to ensure all Government contracts include enforceable minimum standards and rates.

In the midst of the current pandemic, transport operators, including owner drivers have borne the brunt of Covid pain while Transurban increased toll prices and ignored the Pandemic.

Toll prices will continue to increase by 4 percent each year even though the Australian economy is in recession. They face competition that undercuts their businesses from organisations like Uber freight, Amazon Flex and Australia Post who are undercutting the industry and exploiting their workers.

Costs are accelerating to the point that many transport workers and small business owners in NSW can no longer afford to work and maintain a vehicle safely.

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 are accelerating. Drivers are in many cases are unable to recover their costs from their clients.”

“In NSW Toll Roads are not providing a “congestion busting” solution. They are just a rort. Transurban CEO Scott Charlton plans to extend this rort and the debt he has created in league with the NSW Government out to 50 years. Transurban wants the Sydney Western Harbour Tunnel project and the proposed connection of the M7 to Badgery’s Creek.”

“If Gladys Berejiklian, Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg really do have the best interests of our children and grandchildren at heart, rather than just the next election, they would outlaw these dodgy deals and tax rorts between Transurban and State Governments,” Mr Olsen said.

Media Inquiries – Colin Henderson – 0405625208


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