September 17, 2020

I thank the member for Riverstone for bringing this motion to the House. I thank the member for Wollongong for his sensible amendment which relates to the challenges confronting small business, particularly our tradies and our truckies, local families and commuters who use the M5 and NorthConnex. My friend and colleague the member for Macquarie Fields knows this all too well as he is a resident, like myself, of south‑west Sydney and Campbelltown. Our community is outraged. Before I speak on the tolls, I acknowledge the vital role small business plays in our economy and society as the largest employer body. The member for Blacktown made a specific reference to eligibility. There was a misleading directive from the Government to many small businesses that applied for these grants but missed out on the basis of ineligibility. That has had a serious and detrimental outcome for many small businesses.

The tolls on the M5 and NorthConnex are a new tax. They are not just tolls, they are a huge tax that will have an impact not only on our hardworking truckies but also on people who do not use these toll roads because the expense will be passed on. Make no mistake, the margins of some of these small businesses, particularly in the transport industry, are as low as 3 per cent. The tolls will have a detrimental effect on their bottom line and largely make them ineligible to tender for contracts in a competitive market. This will have a negative, adverse effect. I call on those opposite to stand up for their communities, particularly those in the south-west. The members for the electorates of East Hills, Holsworthy, Camden and Wollondilly know that their communities are outraged at this unfair imposition and that there needs to be a step change.