St George Matters with Chris Minns: NSW government's Toll mania hits St George families hard

Imagine the NSW Government introduced a $450 a year tax on every St George resident who drives on Sydney's roads. Now imagine if the tax on a family on the Northern Beaches, Sydney's CBD or in Ryde was hundreds of dollars less than what St George families pay. You would be angry, and rightly so.

This is the what St George residents face with Sydney's toll roads and it shows why the current system is so unfair. Sydney has the highest tolls in the world, a situation the Premier describes as her "toll mania".

Research by analytics firm AlphaBeta and credit bureau illion shows a household in Georges River Council pays, on average, $452 a year in tolls. For residents in Bayside Council it is closer to $600 a year. Frequent users of tolls, such as trades and salespeople are paying ten times that amount every year.

With so many people working from home, due to COVID-19, the true cost of what we pay in NSW Government tolls won't be clear until work patterns return to normal. So $450 to $600 underestimates what St George families usually pay.

As economist Andrew Charlton from AlphaBeta explains, tolls on the daily commute are a major annual expense for many families, especially in the south and western suburbs.

"This data shows the slow creep of toll roads in Sydney; nibble by nibble they have turned into a financial shark-bite for commuters in some parts of the city," he said.

It's time to call out this 'toll mania' for what it is - a tax on families in St George and Western Sydney.