MORE TOLLS ON THE HORIZON FOR SOUTHWESTERN SYDNEY MOTORISTS UNDER SECRET BEREJIKLIAN SALE PLAN

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The Berejiklian Government is hatching a secret plan to load up motorists from southwestern Sydney with tolls for up to 40 years by extending the toll on the 22-kilometre stretch of the M5 South West motorway, a Parliamentary hearing has been told.

WestConnex Minister Stuart Ayres revealed on Wednesday that he is secretly negotiating to extend and sell the right to toll the M5 South West Motorway as part of his sale of 51 per cent of the Sydney Motorway Corporation, the government-controlled body delivering WestConnex. 

The toll on the M5 South West Motorway is due to come off in 2026 but at a Budget Estimates hearing Mr Ayres admitted to his plan to incorporate the M5 South West Motorway into WestConnex and sell it on to the private sector.

Asked if he was contemplating selling the toll concession for the M5 as part of its overall sale of the Sydney Motorway Corporation, Mr Ayres replied:

“That will be part of the commercial negotiations of the sale of the SMC…...

It is a commercial option for the Government.”

Mr Ayres was unable to say for how long the toll would be extended; the M4 toll, which went back on last month after a 7-year hiatus, has been extended for 43 years and will rise by 4 per cent or the rate of inflation every year.

The WestConnex Minister also conceded that motorists from Liverpool, Campbelltown, Camden would not get any improvements at all to the road, despite the fact that they will be paying tolls for decades to come.

Earlier this week the public learned that the final leg to the airport and Port Botany - the Sydney Gateway - which was always part of the WestConnex project is to be tolled separately, in effect creating another fee for motorists.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Wherever you drive in Sydney the Premier has her hand in motorists’ pockets.”

“The M5 was due to be paid off by 2026 but now as part of a privatisation scam this Government is extending it to the 2060s. This is just an exercise in fattening WestConnex for market day.

“The Premier says she is worried about the cost of living but that doesn’t appear to apply to people living in western and southwestern Sydney who face paying unfair and unaffordable tolls for decades to come.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Roads Minister Jodi McKay

“Once again it takes the scrutiny of Parliament to shine a light on this Government’s shady deals.

“Motorists from Western and Southwestern Sydney are being forced to pay for other roads projects like the Northern Beaches tunnel; it is grossly unfair and tells you everything you need to know about this government’s priorities.

“On Monday we learned that the Sydney Gateway is to be tolled separately; today we learn the M5 will be tolled for decades to come. And as always the truth has to be pulled from this Government like a rotten tooth.”