NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has refused to rule out introducing a new toll on one of Sydney’s most popular roads.
The NSW government is considering more tolls for motorists crossing Sydney Harbour, the Premier has confirmed.
However no decision has been made, and Dominic Perrottet is urging people not to engage in “hypotheticals”.
“They’re not easy decisions. They’re complicated ones that the government’s working through,” Dominic Perrottet told reporters on Tuesday.
Tolls on Sydney roads are set to become a major election issue, with Labor arguing drivers in the city’s west are being charged an unfair “secret tax”.
The question of whether to toll northbound trips across Sydney Harbour arose recently when Transport for NSW papers emerged that showed such a plan was a real possibility.
The documents showed bureaucrats planning the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link underground motorways are working on the assumption drivers would be charged going both directions.
“Tolls would apply to all north and southbound trips on all harbour crossings in the future, including two-way tolling on the Western Harbour Tunnel, Beaches Link tunnel, Sydney Harbour Tunnel and Sydney Harbour Bridge,” the document said.
The tolls, which cost up to $4 in peak hour on weekdays, currently apply to southbound trips only.
Mr Perrottet said government discussions about the tolls were ongoing and that nothing is decided yet.
He said he would like to see a tolling regime that’s “incredibly fair right across the board”.
“We know that tolls are a challenge. There’s no hiding from that,” he told reporters.
“We always want there to be alternatives for people as well. So this is this is a consequence – this decision that government needs to make is a consequence of our commitment to building the infrastructure that will make a real difference to people’s lives.”
He did not confirm reports he opposed tolling northbound harbour trips as treasurer in February – at a moment the government was apparently close to going through with it.
Opposition Leader Chris Minns said that while he wants to see toll relief for people crossing the Harbour, it’s especially urgent to lower the costs for those living in western Sydney.
He said toll costs have increased much faster in the city’s west compared with the north.
“The Harbour Bridge in total haven’t increased once, not by any measure, not by inflation, not at all,” he said.
“So there’s got to be some equity, particularly for the families in western Sydney.”