In a budget estimates hearing, the Westconnex Minister Stuart Ayres spoke about various options being considered by the NSW government – including incorporating the M5 South West Motorway into WestConnex and selling 51 percent of Sydney Motorway Corporation to the private sector.
The sale would help fund stage 3 of the M4-to-M5 motorway link. But it would mean the rights to tolling the M5 South West Motorway could change and be extended.
Tolls to the 22-kilometre stretch of the M5 South West Motorway were expected to be capped by 2026 but could be extended into the 2060s in line with other WestConnex tolls.
This would affect motorists who could be paying $2000 a year in tolls for the next 40 years. Mr Ayres said it was a “commercial option for the Government”.
Motorists from Liverpool, Campbelltown and Camden would not get any improvements to the road, although they could be paying tolls for decades to come.
A spokesman representing the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey is reassuring us plans are just being “considered” for now.
“The NSW Government will not remove cashback on the M5 southwest motorway. We’re cracking on with building the New M5, which will increase tunnel capacity from four lanes to eight lanes – with capacity for 10 lanes in future.
“This vital stage of WestConnex [New M5] will deliver significant benefits for current users of the M5. It will also slash travel times by half an hour on an average peak journey between Liverpool and South Sydney.
“The Premier has been very clear, the Government is considering options to reduce cost-of-living pressure with tolls being considered in this mix.”
Labor candidate for Holsworthy Charishma Kaliyanda has slammed the Berejiklian Government.
“The fact is this road has already been paid for and is scheduled to cease in 2026. Why should hard-working and frustrated road-users have to pay more while getting nothing in return?” she asked.
“This is yet another sneaky act by a spiteful government that’s clearly out of touch with the challenges and hardships of many local families, local businesses and hard-working people in Campbelltown and Macarthur.
“More sell-off by stealth by a government to pay for their own failings and blowouts in the inner west, eastern suburbs and north shore – our community is right to be as outraged as am I. I’ll fight this outrageous decision the whole way to ensure our community and local families have a strong voice on this.”
Liverpool Mayor Wendy Waller has also expressed her frustration.
“What we need is greater NSW Government investment to provide vital infrastructure for a growing population – not a toll on a road already unable to serve existing needs.
“The NSW Government needs to start planning for long-term infrastructure solutions that include affordable transport options to accommodate this growth.”