NSW Opposition Leader Chris Minns was in Thornton on Tuesday morning, driving home Labor’s State Election pledge which would see tolls capped at $60 a week.
The reform, which would start on January 1, 2024 if Labor is elected, will cost $150 million over two years and is set to provide relief for 51,000 motorists.
The cap would be on top of the existing $750 annual toll rebate and M5 cashback schemes, with any tolls charged above the cap to be refunded on a quarterly basis.
Minns said that the plan would look to address the “toll mania” that had been inflicted by the Coalition Government.
“When you look at the facts, 17 out of 20 suburbs in western Sydney have the lowest access to public transport but are serviced by toll infrastructure,” Minns said.
“That little beep that goes off in your car every time you travel down one of these major roads is a reminder that Dominic Perrottet’s hand is effectively in your pocket as you travel around your own city.”
With a cap in place for Opal cards used for public transport, Minns is looking for equality for local drivers with the cap applying to each account that can be used by multiple family members.
“From Penrith travelling on the M4 and Cross City Tunnel is $15.91 each way which is $159 a week so this could be a weekly saving of $99 stacked up each week for families doing it tough,” he said.
“That is a huge saving for the family budget which is indicative of the Labor party that will provide cost-of-living relief for tens of thousands of family across NSW that really need help.”
Labor will also slash tolls for tradespeople and truck drivers on the M5 East and M8 Motorway by reducing the three times truck multiplier to two times for up to 10 truck trips per week.
While this does not apply to trucks on the other roads, Minns said tradies will benefit from the cap on all NSW toll roads.
“The reason for trucks on the M5 East and M8 was that it was the only road in Sydney that had previously been free and had no toll on it and then overnight went to $23,” he said.
“Given the unfairness of that and that people were used to driving that particular route we wanted to do as much as we could.”
After his visit, the Opposition Leader drove from Penrith to the Sydney CBD using the M4, M7, M2, Lane Cove Tunnel and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
When questioned about his plan to take the “scenic route” to hit every toll road, Minns told the Weekender that it demonstrates the options motorists will have with the cap.
“This gives you the option of pursuing a toll road that gives you a better route or being closer to your place of work if you don’t want to necessarily take the M4,” he said.
“At the moment, there may be a way quicker to your location taking those other toll roads, but you have to stay on the M4 whereas with the toll cap policy in place it will give you the option of choosing the most convenient way for you.”
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Emily covers Local, State and Federal politics for the Weekender, as well as crime and general news.