Liberal National Party Leader Deb Frecklington said she was shocked by a number of startling revelations made during today’s public briefing at the Toll Road Inquiry.
“The reason I called for this inquiry was to save people money and bust congestion. I simply want a better, fairer toll system but after today’s startling revelations I am increasingly concerned about its current fairness for motorists,” Ms Frecklington said.
“In the last three years, Transurban’s Queensland business has been the subject of 48 per cent of all the complaints made to the National Toll Ombudsman – more than any other operator.
“Transurban told the inquiry that number is reducing but we also learnt today that Transurban predominantly funds the National Toll Ombudsman to the tune of $250,000 per year and he is only part-time.
“Unbelievably the Ombudsman doesn’t have an office. You have to fax him at a Post Office in Victoria and when someone rings to make a complaint they only get an answering machine message.
“What makes this worse is he doesn’t record complaints about fees, toll pricing or infringement notices, so the question is what does he actually look at.
“We also found out that if you make a complaint direct to Transurban itself, your call will be put through to an overseas call centre in Manilla.
“It was also disheartening to hear both Transurban and the Palaszczuk Government rule out straight away ways to make our toll roads more affordable by investigating discounts, bundling and other incentives.”
Ms Frecklington said video-matching fees, invoice charges and administrative fees can turn one missed toll into a demand for a small fortune.
“We revealed that the Victorian Government in 2002, using figures provided by Transurban themselves, estimated the administration fee for processing a toll charge was between 28 and 93 cents. Today we learned that Transurban charges an adminstration fee of $23.81 and that exorbitant fee is signed off by the Palaszczuk Government,” she said.
“We also learnt that the high number of complaints and high administration fees do not constitute a breach of the Road Franchise Agreement with the Palaszczuk Government.
“It is clear that the KPIs in the Road Franchises Agreement needs to be looked at by the Palaszczuk Government.
“Queenslanders deserve a better deal on our Toll Roads.”