In response to a question by NSW Greens MP and Spokesperson for Transport, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC during Budget Estimates, Westconnex Minister Stuart Ayres has revealed that the Government paid the Sydney Motorway Corporation $15 million for the four week toll-free period on the widened M4.
Dr. Faruqi was questioning Minister Ayres this morning in Budget Estimates at NSW Parliament House.
Dr Faruqi said:
“It’s unbelievable that the Government has paid a private corporation $15 million.The Premier gets to look magnanimous, while at the same time secretly handing over $15 million of public money to a private corporation. It’s the public who lose out in the end, they pay tolls and then pay again without even knowing.
“Obviously, a toll free period is intended to make toll roads more palatable for users, the benefits of which will go entirely to the private owner when SMC is sold off later this year. And what do taxpayers get for their money? Tolls with no end in sight.
“They can’t have it both ways, claim the Sydney Motorway Corporation is a private entity when questioned and then use Government funds to prop it up,” she concluded.
NSW Greens MP and Spokesperson for Westconnex, Jenny Leong said:
“It is beyond belief that the Minister for WestConnex can say that this polluting toll road provides a ‘value for money offer’ to those using it when it has been revealed that they paid millions in compensation from the public purse to the private Sydney Motorway Company to offer a ‘toll free’ period and in to the future users will be slugged with massive tolls.
“The NSW Liberal Government made such a big deal out of ‘giving’ people a toll free period, but really what they did is the equivalent to buying someone a birthday gift with their own credit card – completely shameful behaviour,” she concluded.