'Captive' Mulder must break free of transport bureaucracy

Academic calls for more leadership from government on transport, claiming Victorian Transport Minister Terry Mulder is "captive" to the bureaucracy

By Ruza Zivkusic | August 18, 2011

Victorian Transport Minister Terry Mulder has shown no commitment to improving Melbourne’s transport issues, a transport expert claims.

RMIT University senior lecturer in transport planning Paul Mees believes Mulder is held "captive to the Department of Transport and is no different to his predecessors".

"He didn’t have any agenda when he arrived so the department has rushed in to fill that vacuum so we’re getting just what we got with Peter Batchelor, Lynne Kosky and briefly Tim Pallas," Mees says.

"We’ve got a bureaucratic agenda that isn’t really up to the task of proceeding because no politician is prepared to grab the department metaphorically by the shoulders and give it a good shake. My message to political leaders both at the state and federal level is ‘How about leading?’

Mees says government needs to engage the community and industry in serious discussion about fixing problems instead of sticking with the existing approach of the bureaucracy, which he says is not working.

A widespread strategy that addresses freight in Melbourne is urgently needed, he adds.

And to reduce truck traffic on the West Gate Freeway and surrounding suburbs in Melbourne’s west, Mees says a segregated truck load which enables freight to bypass congestion is also necessary.

"These are the kinds of serious methods in dealing with freight problems that we have to look at as well as the Truck Action Plan," he says.

"There has been no serious strategy for dealing with freight in Melbourne since the second World War. The assumption is that if we just build roads everywhere freight people will use it as well."

ATN is awaiting responses from the minister’s office on this and other issues.

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