source : www.news.com.au
Questions have been raised over an election promise to set a $60 toll cap for Australia’s highest toll state.
NSW Premier Chris Minns stands by his decision to increase Harbor Bridge and Tunnel tolls, saying there has been “no fairness” when it comes to tolls in the Sydney metropolitan area. “Regarding the Harbor Bridge toll, it has not been moved since 2009,” Mr Minns told Sky News Australia. “To put that into perspective, the Harbor Bridge toll would cost you $4 in 2009; As of yesterday it would cost you $4. “To put that into context, someone coming from Campbelltown in 2009 paid $12 for a return trip; Yesterday they paid more than $30. “So there has been no fairness when it comes to tolls in the Sydney metropolitan area.”
Appearing in the budget estimates on Thursday, Roads Minister John Graham was asked several times whether all drivers in NSW with a Linkt or E-Toll account would have access to the limit; however, he refused to answer.
“What we will clarify around time is how drivers can register and all these arrangements. We still have some time,” he said.
“We expect a service NSW-like engagement … with drivers.”
While he said the program was “on track” for a Jan. 1 rollout, he said more details would come in the coming weeks.
“We indicated at the election, after some of these issues were raised, that there would be audits and there would be careful management around the plan,” he said.
“And I will present it to the public in detail before January 1.”
Under the government’s $561 million policy, which would come into effect on January 1, the cap would be administered through a quarterly refund that drivers could claim if they spend more than $60 a week on toll roads.
It is estimated that around 720,000 people will benefit from the scheme.
Opposition Roads spokeswoman Natalie Ward accused the government of breaking a key election promise.
“Labour blew the budget on this policy and now they are making good on their promise,” she said.
“It’s a simple question: will every driver benefit from the scheme or is this another broken promise from Labour?”
Graham was also criticized for Labor’s decision to increase costs on the state-owned Sydney Harbor Bridge and Tunnel toll roads for the first time in 14 years.
In September, peak travel prices rose 6.8 percent, from $4 to $4.27. Off-peak costs increased from $3 to $3.20, and $2.50 to $2.67 for nighttime use.
The minister said he thought it was a “fair” decision compared to cost increases on other private toll roads such as the M2, M4 and M5.
“I thought it was fair that this was the only toll that could increase and of course, as you know, we have committed to converting the Harbor Bridge toll revenue into the Harbor Tunnel toll relief,” he said. said.
Mr. Graham’s office was contacted for comment.
source : www.news.com.au