QCOSS welcomes the Palaszczuk government’s support for all five recommendations of the Transport and Public Works Committee’s inquiry into the operation of toll roads. The committee recommended monitoring and reduction of fees and charges, a Queensland Toll Road ombudsman, earlier contact with customers and preventing enforcement action whilst disputes are unresolved. This support means people in Queensland on low incomes are one step closer to tolling relief.
QCOSS participated in the inquiry by making a submission and appearing at the public hearing. This followed our participation in the Transurban hardship pilot in Logan, and our facilitation of a community forum on toll roads involving volunteers, workers, lawyers, and managers from neighbourhood centres, social service providers, community legal centres, and the federal government. Feedback from this session formed the basis of our submission.
Whilst the final committee report made numerous references to QCOSS’s submission and public hearing statements, it did not fully accept all our recommendations. These were to integrate transport planning and limit toll roads, to make the system fair, reasonable, simple and clear and to support those in financial hardship. Many of the identified problems in the toll road system could be prevented by better integrated transport planning (including concessions for people on low incomes) and limiting the privatisation of public roads.
Since the release of the committee’s report, Transurban has also released its report into the Logan hardship pilot. QCOSS also welcomes the recommendations in that report of establishing a new hardship team, streamlined access and eligibility, more flexible treatment of fines, payment options and channels, improved clarity and accessibility of information, education and early intervention, and best practice leadership.
The parliamentary committee report is here.
The Transurban hardship pilot report is here