Toll Roads Inquiry Hands Down Findings
On 13th September, the Queensland Parliament’s Transport and Public Works Committee tabled the Committee Report – Inquiry into the operation of Toll Roads in Queensland.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the Parliamentary Inquiry into toll roads had attracted almost 200 submissions, with many of those focused on customer service issues and fees and charges.
“The committee received a number of submissions that raised issues with a perceived lack of communication from toll operators and their customers, particularly around fees and charges, and the time people were given to pay.”
Minister Bailey said the committee’s recommendations identified practical ways to make customer service more efficient.
The committee also highlighted Transurban’s statement that it was not in a position to discount toll prices, noting in its report that Transurban Queensland had paid $9 billion for the tolling rights.
Mr Bailey said any move by the State Government to subsidise toll prices would be at the expense of other road projects across Queensland.
“Toll roads are a mechanism for governments to work with the private sector to bring forward infrastructure for motorists to ease congestion and give drivers more options.”
The Palaszczuk Government will now consider the Parliamentary Committee’s report in detail and provide a response to its recommendations. . The Minister is required to table a response within three months of the tabling of a Committee’s report.
The Parliamentary Committee’s recommendations include:
Recommendation 1 – The committee recommends the Department of Transport and Main Roads and the Brisbane City Council continue to monitor fees and charges on a regular basis to ensure they remain reasonable and reflect cost recovery principles.
Recommendation 2 – The committee recommends the Department of Transport and Main Roads and the Brisbane City Council continue to work with Transurban Queensland to reduce fees and charges as technological advances reduce the costs of these additional charges.
Recommendation 3 – The committee strongly recommends that the Minister for Transport and Main Roads consider the establishment of a Queensland based Toll Road Ombudsman.
Recommendation 4 – The committee recommends that the Minister for Transport and Main Roads consider investigating, whether contact data, including contact telephone numbers, could be shared with the toll road operator, whilst complying with relevant privacy principles, for the purpose of ensuring that customers are aware of toll fees earlier in the process.
Recommendation 5 – The committee recommends that the Minister for Transport and Main Roads consider investigating what additional processes, if any, would be necessary to ensure that enforcement action is not initiated whilst unresolved disputes apply to a particular matter.