$100k for fuel use education as Vic examines freight future

By: Graham Gardiner


The Victorian Government will spend $100,000 on helping trucking operators deal with ever-rising fuel costs. State Roads Minister Tim Pallas made

The Victorian Government will spend $100,000 on helping trucking operators deal with ever-rising fuel costs.

State Roads Minister Tim Pallas made the pledge in his address to the Victorian Transport Association's (VTA) annual conference yesterday.

Pallas says the money will be spent on information and training programs for operators to help them reduce their fuel use and spend, along with so-called "eco-driving" training schemes to teach fuel-efficient driving techniques.

The Minister says fuel costs are hurting operators and while the State Government can't do anything to reduce fuel costs he says it can assist in helping operators become more efficient.

The money will be funnelled through a new think tank to be set up by the VTA to examine fuel use among fleet owners in Victoria.

VTA CEO Philip Lovel says the group will be made up of industry participants and interested stakeholders to guide the education campaigns and look at longer-term solutions for cutting fuel use and using alternative energy sources.

Operators at the conference heard the results of overseas research on fuel use from Daimler Trucks, which shows significant savings possible from better vehicle design and aerodynamic aids as well as limiting the top speeds of vehicles to below usual highway limits.

Pallas also assured operators the Government supports the use of higher-productivity vehicles if they are proved to be safe.

He says the debate needs to be pushed more towards productivity to allow greater flexibility in road access for vehicles.

Victoria is the supply chain capital of Australia, according to Pallas, and must work to maintain its advantage in the face of rising population and resulting trade growth.

He says the Government's Freight Futures strategy, currently being developed and due to be released for public comment later this year, will provide transport operators with a clearer picture of the future and will allow business to invest with confidence.

Pallas highlights the capacity-constrained West Gate Bridge and M1 freeway as key priorities, along with developing better transport links to the industrial hub of the inner-west.

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