An unnecessary evil, that infringes our freedom of passage.
Toll roads are unnecessary – it is the responsibility of government to provide and maintain our PUBLIC road network, not to sell off our roads and bridges to private corporations whose only goal is profit. Unlike Europe and the USA, until recently we in Australia have always had free, publicly owned, roads.
Queensland in particular has, until now, stood firm in keeping our roads in public hands. However, with the sale of Qld Motorways to the QIDC in 2011, the stage is set to allow it to be sold on the market to private investors.
The private sector has NO BUSINESS trying to take over OUR PUBLIC ROADS. Tolls, and private ownership of roads is a recipe for MORE CONGESTION, not less.
The appalling congestion problems in SE Qld will be solved by more and better PUBLIC TRASNPORT SYSTEMS – not by selling off public road assets and building more toll roads!
STOP GOVERNMENT TRACKING YOU!
The government has no business tracking your movements through cameras and toll points. The electronic tags and video matching used in the ‘Go-Via’ system on the toll roads are an invasion of our privacy to travel freely – without being tracked by government bureaucrats or private corporations. Further, the payment system – whereby you are forced to have an account in credit – which is billed automatically without confirmation by you (and which has been shown to be open to regular errors) - is totally unreasonable. What other service do you have to have a special account for, and pay for in advance?
Common Myths & Mis-Understandings About Tolls
* If We Don’t Charge Tolls – How are We Going to Pay for Our Roads?
Firstly we ARE already paying for our roads! This is what our vehicle registration fees, fuel taxes and driver’s licence fees are for – or what these charges are supposed to be for!
According to the 2011-12 Queensland Budget papers, motor vehicle registration revenue was approximately $1.380 billion with transport and traffic fees another $260 million! The state government also receives massive road funding from the Federal government.
* Isn’t A ‘User-Pay’ System Fairer – If You Use the Road, then You Pay the Toll?
NO! If everyone only paid for the roads they drove on, we wouldn’t have a PUBLIC road network at all! The sensible idea – one that we have had since federation – is for everyone to pay their registration, licence fees, and other taxes, then we ALL get the benefit of being able to drive on our roads anywhere.
This is what being a COMMUNITY is about – people working together to share the costs so everyone benefits. It’s what we do with our Ambulance and Fire & Rescue services, and what we do with our public hospitals. Just imagine if only those who called the Ambulance or the Fire Service were the ones to pay for that service! It would not be much of a ‘service’ would it?
* Toll Roads Reduce Congestion and Encourage Less Driving
This is obvious nonsense! The evidence of the dismal failure of ‘Clem 7’ demonstrates this - motorists still refuse to use it and seek alternative routes to avoid the toll, causing more congestion on those routes. The way to reduce congestion is to invest in better public transport and cycle-way systems to get more cars off the roads – not charge tolls!
Tolls are just an additional financial burden on free travel – taxing people going to work, to see the doctor, or to visit relatives or friends. Tolls specifically disadvantage low and middle income earners who have to pay more – even though they are already paying their fair share of taxes and fees.
* Involving Private Enterprise in Qld Roads is Cheaper and More Efficient
No Way! How could this possibly be true? If the government is managing the roads, they only have the COSTS to cover, whereas if corporations are involved, Qld motorists not only have to pay the costs for the roads, but also the profit margin for the companies involved. As soon as private corporations enter the picture, the aim will always be to maximize their profits, and reduce costs, which will invariably lead to us PAYING MORE for our roads, and getting less service.
Further, in a monopoly situation (which is what Qld Motorways is, since there are no alternative motorways for people to use), there is no incentive to actually reduce congestion – because congestion is good for business profits!
* The 'Go Via' System of Toll Payment is Efficient and Reliable
Efficient for who? Reliable for who? Yes, it’s a great system for the people getting the money, but anyone who has used the ‘Go Via’ system whereby you have to have a special account with a minimum balance at all times – otherwise you get fined – will tell you otherwise! What other service are we required to virtually pay for in advance, and which is fraught with mistakes and over-billing?
And what happens to all the interest our ‘Go Via’ accounts are accruing?
Have you ever tried to actually speak to anyone about your ‘Go Via’ account, or challenge a charge? After waiting on the line for ages, you just get the same stone-walled, insensitive bureaucratic unhelpfulness and self-serving arrogance you would expect from a monopoly that can do what it pleases.
* If Tolls are Necessary, Why was the Sunshine Coast Motorway Toll Scrapped?
Exactly! The reason the toll was scrapped on the Sunshine Coast motorway was pure and simple PUBLIC PRESSURE. There was no reason for it other than as an extra revenue raiser, and as soon as we developed the political will and put enough pressure on government they scrapped it.
WE CAN DO THE SAME WITH ALL TOLL ROADS IN QLD. All we need is the political will, and to exert pressure on these self-serving politicians and bureaucrats who keep mouthing the same tired old arguments about how necessary it is to pay tolls.
KEEP QLD ROADS FREE, AND IN PUBLIC HANDS!
* Toll Roads, are Unfair, Unjust and Infringing Our Freedom to Travel
Too right! How fair is it that the people in the suburbs nearby to the tollways, or who have to use the toll ways to drive to work, to go to the doctor, to see their relative or take their kids to schools have to pay ….. when others don’t have these extra fees? They have paid their share of registration and taxes, so it is unfair that they are being singled out for extra payments.
The reality is clearly that tolls are unnecessary, and there is really a different agenda at play here – and that is to further privatise our public assets in Qld for the benefit of the corporate sector, and their increasing control of key infrastructure and decision making in this state.
The job of government is to serve the public – not to get into bed with big business.
Authorised by J.D. Hodges, Secretary Consumer Rights and No Tolls, 77 Flaxton Mill Rd Flaxton Qld. 4560
Clem 7 Failure
After 3.5 years of constructuion at a cost of $3billion, Clem 7 tunnel enjoyed only modest public acceptance. RiverCity Motorway, the owner of the Clem 7 tunnel, went into receivership in Feb 2011, owing $1.3Billion.