Union unhappy with truck-only toll for Perth Freight Link

By: Paul Howell

TWU says proposed tolling plan will put financial pressure on small transport operators.

Union unhappy with truck-only toll for Perth Freight Link
Western Australia is planning to limit tolls to heavy vehicles once the Perth Freight Link opens.


The funding plans for the Perth Freight Link have come under fire from the Transport Workers Union (TWU).

Its Western Australia branch secretary Tim Dawson says tolling only trucks on the multi-use highway will place further pressure on the transport sector when it is already reeling from some of the tightest margins seen in recent years.

"Transport operators are being squeezed enough by the multinationals; now we’ve got a state government that wants to squeeze them more," he says.

Dawson says the situation will be particularly difficult for small transport operations, including owner drivers, who are unable to pass on rising costs to their customers.

He adds that the situation will lead to further pressure to cut costs by other means and could impact on road safety.

While acknowledging the potential economic savings from having a more direct route between Perth’s industrial east and the Port of Fremantle, Dawson says most operators are expecting an overall increase in costs.

"It will definitely make it more economical, but what the true savings will be is questionable," he says.

Dawson says that if tolling is necessary to build the project, charges should also be applied to private cars using the freight link.

"It’s not going to be secluded [with trucks only]. It’s a normal, mixed function highway – and charging only the trucks discriminates the industry."

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