Macarthur's Labor MPs slam south west Sydney's Liberal MPs "silence" over new M5 toll

NSW Labor is fighting for changes to the law by mandating toll-free periods on all new, major NSW toll roads. Picture: Simon Bennett
NSW Labor is fighting for changes to the law by mandating toll-free periods on all new, major NSW toll roads. Picture: Simon Bennett

NSW Labor has slammed a group of Liberal party MPs from south-west Sydney due to their "silence" on the new M5 East toll.

Labor politicians, including Macquarie Fields MP Anoulack Chanthivong and Campbelltown MP Greg Warren, said the Liberal representatives for Camden, Holsworthy and East Hills "refused to speak up for their communities in the parliament" against the toll.

The toll from King Georges Road to General Holmes Drive coincided with the opening of the new M8 motorway with the eight-kilometre twin tunnels running from Kingsgrove to St Peters.

The distance-based toll is $6.95 for cars and $20.86 for trucks.

Last week Mr Chanthivong moved a motion in the Lower House calling on the parliament to "scrap this appalling and unfair toll which will have a devastating impact on household budgets in south-west Sydney".

The motion also called on the members for Oatley, Holsworthy, East Hills and Camden to support the opposition's motion.

"This new toll on an old road is highway robbery and comes at the worst possible time for many people," Mr Chanthivong said.

"Voters will not forget. They know this new toll is unfair and that Liberal MPs in south-west Sydney did nothing to stand up for them."

East Hills MP Wendy Lindsay, Holsworthy MP Melanie Gibbons and Camden MP Peter Sidgreaves chose to remain silent in parliament.

The Advertiser reached out to Mr Sidgreaves to find out if he disagreed with NSW Labor's assertions about his silence; however, he did not answer that question.

He also did not provide an answer when asked if he believes the toll to be unfair.

Mr Sidgreaves did say that he has responded to concerns raised by residents.

"I acknowledge many of the concerns raised by constituents to myself and my office," he said.

"As such, I have made representations to the Minister for Transport and Roads requesting his consideration of these concerns and have informed the constituents that have contacted me of my representations."

Mr Sidgreaves told the Advertiser last month that the Premier had made it clear that "there will be no grace period due to toll relief options like free registration or half-price registration from Service NSW".

He said the M5 East's capacity had doubled in recent years.

"I think it shaves at least 30 minutes off the trip, so that saves people an hour on a round trip," Mr Sidgreaves told the Advertiser in July.

"If I could save that hour and spend it with my family I would expect, and be happy, to pay for it."

Campbelltown MP Greg Warren said he has previously backed calls for a toll-free grace period to be introduced on the M5 East Motorway.

"The people of south-west Sydney cannot be blamed for feeling they're subsidising the failures of this Government," he said.

"Whether it is the $6.8 million blowout in Sydney Metro West or the $1.3 billion blowout in the CBD light rail."

Liverpool Council's Labor and Liberal councillors unanimously supported a notice of motion last week calling on the state government to introduce a range of measures to alleviate the financial burden of the new tolls, including a cashback scheme, a grace period or scrapping the toll altogether.

Lakemba MP Jihad Dib said the united front demonstrated how the community's in south-west Sydney felt about the toll.

"This Government loves to privatise everything and impose tolls. The Premier admitted as much; they've got toll mania," he said.

"When Liverpool Liberal councillors vote on a motion condemning this action, the Government knows it is in trouble."

This story Macarthur's Labor MPs slam south west Sydney's Liberal MPs "silence" over new M5 toll first appeared on Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser.