RFNSW calls for relief from mounting industry charges


Road Freight NSW calls for moratorium on NorthConnex and other imposts

RFNSW calls for relief from mounting industry charges
Simon O’Hara

 

New South Wales charges placed on trucking when the nation was recessionless and pandemicless must now be curtailed and reviewed, according to industry body Road Freight NSW (RFNSW).

With another new Sydney toll-road set to open in the coming months, RFNSW is renewing its calls for the NSW government to deliver "financial relief measures for truckies struggling to pay excessive tolls, unfair registration costs and other mounting daily operational charges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic".

Trucks in Sydney’s north will soon be forced off Pennant Hills Road and have to pay tolls on Transurban’s NorthConnex tunnel, or risk incurring penalties of up to $200.

RFNSW chief executive Simon O’Hara argues that the state government should now review its current policies and offer incentives to use toll-roads, for the benefit of both the industry and the wider community.

"The government needs to incentivise trucks operators if they expect to move heavy vehicles off suburban roads and on to expensive toll roads and motorways," O’Hara says.

"It’s unfair that truckies, who are frequent users of toll roads, are given no relief, unlike other motorists.

"Once the NorthConnex opens, there’ll be no toll-free alternative roads for truckies to use and that means they’ll be paying for additional tolls as part of their daily operations. It’s simply unsustainable."


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The renewed call comes as the layering of community costs through larger-state’s infrastructure funding strategies – particularly so-called "asset recycling", which includes port leasing and its impacts – comes into sharp relief.

"These are tough times for our members, particularly small, family-owned businesses, operating one or two trucks," O’Hara says.

"The triple whammy of excessive tolls, higher rego costs and increasing port and container park charges, is causing them enormous financial hardship. In some cases, their rates no longer cover their operating costs.

"If the government is serious about getting the NSW economy moving again as part of its COVID-19 recovery plans, we believe it must restore a degree of equity for road-users and develop new solutions which will support the struggling transport industry and also the safety of the community.

"Already, caravan and camper trailer owners have saved nearly $500 after the government slashed their registration fees and we’re now calling on the Government to do the same for transport operators, reducing their rego to compensate for the excessive tolls they’re forced to pay every day.

"Working on the frontline throughout the pandemic, truckies have done a great job in delivering essential food and grocery supplies on to our supermarket shelves in very difficult circumstances.

"Now, RFNSW is calling on the Government to provide them with financial relief, so they can start clawing-back costs, as Australia slumps into recession."

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