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Treasurer knows road tolls’ cost

IF toll roads work in other parts of the country, why doesn’t the State Government implement them here?

While Treasurer Eric Ripper cited insufficient levels of traffic congestion to make toll roads palatable to the general public, the majority of the business panel agreed that toll roads would work for much needed infrastructure such as the Peel deviation. 

John Poynton, Poynton and Partners chairman: “I do think we haven’t been very brave in a lot of areas of obvious revenue generation. We’ve taken the easy road. 

“If you think about toll roads and PPPs (public-private partnerships) as two examples where they are working elsewhere in this country. Not with-standing other States doing similar things to this one and the recognition of a very large area advanced infrastruc-ture, I think we tend to duck and weave on what might be seen by you [the Government] as politically difficult but potentially it’s not, because there are precedents for it elsewhere.”

Eric Ripper, Treasurer: “Where toll roads have been used there has been very significant congestion on alternate routes and the community perceived paying the toll as being given a service to avoid the congestion on other roads. 

“I don’t think we have the conditions for community acceptance for toll roads in this State.”

John Poynton, Poynton and Partners chairman: “If you go just about anywhere in the world now it just seems to be so accepted; it just seems to be something that will happen eventually, it is just a matter of being able to sell it ... as it’s explained in a rational way. 

“Yes, you have to start with a new piece of infrastructure, you can’t suddenly put a toll on a road that people have already been using. But you can build something new and get people used to the idea.

Eric Ripper, Treasurer: “I find it interesting that these sort of views are being expressed but the Government’s judgment is that there would not be community acceptance of tolls in Western Australia. There is not the level of congestion, which makes the toll appealing.

Rami Brass, RSM Bird Cameron tax partner: “I think it is sellable but you have to reduce another tax.”

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