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Miller takes on Qld toll 'gouging'

AAP logoAAP 28/07/2016 By Jamie McKinnell

Labor MP Jo-Ann Miller has demanded the Queensland government amend legislation to prevent the "gouging" from toll companies on behalf of a constituent who racked up a $20,000 bill.

The Bundamba MP, who has been questioning her own colleagues during budget estimates, said her constituent, who she named as Matthew, passed through 70 tolling points.

"He freely admits it was his mistake," Ms Miller said on Thursday.

But she said Matthew was "continuously bamboozled" by his skyrocketing bills, which increased from $700 to $20,000 as administrative fees mounted.

Ms Miller asked main roads minister Mark Bailey to amend legislation, which currently calls for companies to charge "reasonable" amounts to cover administration and ban "gouging".

Mr Bailey said Queensland's unpaid fines were sitting at $1.12 billion.

The number of toll bills referred to the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) had increased by 400 per cent under the former LNP government, he added.

The increase came after former transport minister Scott Emerson approved the issuing of penalty infringement notices for all tolling debts for the transport department, which led to them being referred to SPER.

"You are absolutely right to highlight this as a problem," Mr Bailey said.

At the end of March, tolling debts totalled $233 million - the largest single component of outstanding SPER debt.

"This additional volume of unpaid fines has stretched SPER's resources and the IT system," Mr Bailey said.

Mr Bailey said Transurban, the manager of toll road networks, had recently reached an agreement with the government allowing it to contact drivers earlier in the billing process.

Broader changes also included a first-time forgiveness policy, additional alerts for people running low on pre-paid account credit and hardship provisions, he said.

"We're serious about making it easier for people who want to pay their fine and to make it harder for repeat offenders who get away with not paying deliberately," he said.

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