The Berejiklian government is listening to advice from one of Australia’s biggest infrastructure advisors that it should sell the Harbour Bridge and tunnel toll revenues – to pay for the proposed Western Harbour tunnel.

That means Sydney drivers face $5 tolls each way – and on the Eastern Distributor.

NSW Opposition leader Luke Foley has revealed the advice was buried in a briefing document by Macquarie Wealth Management to its clients. He said the fact that it hasn’t been instantly rejected means the Berejiklian Government is still obsessed with selling taxpayer-owned public property, in a privatisation frenzy that has given it more than $50 billion.

In a briefing note to investors in October Macquarie Bank says: 

The economics of a Western Harbour Tunnel is not justified without a subsidy from the Harbour Bridge/Sydney Harbour Tunnel concession. At this stage the harbor concession ends in December 2022 where the government is repaid $222m, and will have released $120m of revenue.”

The detailed advice goes on to warn that the toll – currently a maximum of $4 – is likely to increase. Based on the build cost of $4.5 billion and taking into account the toll revenue from the Sydney Harbour Tunnel "the toll would need to be $4.50-$5.00 per trip to be an acceptable return", it reads

Currently, motorists pay tolls southbound only on the bridge and the tunnel.  But to deliver a larger volume of cars and revenue to the new owners of the tolls, drivers will be charged both ways - as well as on the new Western Harbour Tunnel. 

Under the Liberal State Government, the number of toll roads is projected to double.  Its network of roads with WestConnex at its heart is designed to entrap motorists and ensure they pay - regardless of where they drive.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Before the last election this government maintained that by selling the state’s electricity assets for billions of dollars the funds would be available to pay for all the road and rail infrastructure that was planned.”

“At no time did they say anything about increasing road tolls, and keeping those punishing tolls in place for decades – with annual built-in increases.”

“Is there no end to the schemes this government will consider – to make a quick buck?  The fact it isn’t the best economic outcome for the State or taxpayers clearly doesn’t matter to them.”

“Time for the Berejiklian government to own up – is the sale of Harbour Bridge and Tunnel road tolls to a private consortium going ahead or not?