The Penrith Valley Community Unions (PVCU) held a protest against the WestConnex M4 toll on October 26. About 50 people gathered in Triangle Park and then marched to the nearby electoral office of Penrith Liberal MP and NSW Minister for WestConnex Stuart Ayres.
For the past 18 months the PVCU has been campaigning with local residents against the unfair road toll recently reintroduced by the NSW Coalition government on the M4 motorway, which links the western suburbs with central Sydney.
The PVCU has held hundreds of conversations with local residents at the Penrith Paceway markets and on local streets. In the past 12 months, it has delivered 4000 signed letters to Stuart Ayres. A further 2000 letters were delivered on October 26.
PVCU chairperson Peter Mason said: “The M4 toll is just another tax ... inflicted on Western Sydney for the next 60 years — a toll that is set to increase at twice the rate of inflation.
"For most residents this massive toll is an assault on their standard of living and will have a long term chronic effect on household stress, especially when the toll is going up 4% every three months.
“The cost of living is already out of control, especially when commuters across Western Sydney must now pay more than $2000 a year extra in tolls to travel on the M4.
“Shame on Mr Ayres for putting this toll on his own electorate, especially when we were promised by former premier Barry O’Farrell in 2010 there would be no more tolls on the M4 after Western Sydney residents paid it off."
PVCU secretary Mary Court declared: "We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore. Our message to the government is, dump the toll or we'll dump you!"
Other speakers at the rally included federal Labor MP Emma Husar and state MPs for the western region, local Greens candidate Anthony Green, and UnionsNSW assistant secretary Thomas Costa.