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Howard Government's massive road toll agenda.

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Martin Ferguson MP

Shadow Minister for Urban and Regional Development Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure

6 August 2003


The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport has made the clearest indication to date that his AusLink plan is about the sweeping introduction of road tolls.

John Anderson has told the 2003 National Infrastructure Summit that AusLink will see the national land transport network “substantially financed by the private sector.”

Substantial private sector investment in road infrastructure can mean only one thing - tolls.

We’ve already established that AusLink will see the Commonwealth shift its current funding responsibility for the National Highways onto the States and local government.

It is now clear that the responsibility will also be flicked from the Commonwealth Government to motorists and families, especially those in urban areas.

It is also clear that the upgrade of the national rail track will be financed through government guaranteed borrowings with no extra money for rail and at the same time no money for urban public transport.

The Howard Government has taken the high moral ground on the Victorian Government’s plan to put a toll on the Scoresby Freeway, while they have been plotting the sweeping introduction of tolls throughout the national transport network. Their hypocrisy is numbing.

The Minister must come clean now and indicate which roads he’ll hand pass to the private sector, what tolling arrangements will be put in place and how much it will cost motorists, businesses and families in all regions.

The Minister must also reveal the rationale deciding which roads will be tolled and the impact his national land transport plan will have on other road user charges and if it will impact on fuel excise.

Labor supports private investment in infrastructure development but not on the scale clearly planned by the Howard Government and revealed by John Anderson.

It is time the Minister came clean on the details and showed the financial impact of his plans on families, businesses and motorists in both urban and regional Australia.

It is clear that John Anderson is going to saddle us with tolls and then retire to the farm, leaving as his legacy tolls on the substantial majority of our roads.

Further Information:

Blythe Hamilton 02 6277 4753 or 0407 099 104