Council antics anger VFLC

The Victorian Freight and Logistics Council expresses frustration over councils' approach to trucks

Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | April 16, 2012

The Victorian Freight and Logistics Council (VFLC) has expressed frustration over councils’ approach to trucks and has taken umbrage at seeing the industry attacked while accident rates decrease.

The VFLC expressed its views in a recent newsletter where it supported the Planning for Freight Program, saying it wants to help councils achieve strategic approaches to freight infrastructure investment.

"It can at times be disappointing and frustrating in a "one step forward, two steps backward" way as heavy vehicles are demonised yet again while the heavy vehicle accident rates in fact plummet," the newsletter states.

"It is equally as frustrating to see local government councillors again advocating for a particular road upgrade, largely on the basis of freight transport usage, with no cogent evidence or strategy for how freight might be managed locally, or more importantly, regionally.

"In one instance, trucks using the road are ‘monsters’ and a threat to local amenity and in the next they are used as the rationale for public investment, with little connection between the two.

"Will the investment calm the ‘monsters’? Should they be on the road? Are they there because of lack of planning for them?

"Out come the shopping lists in the run up to the State and Federal budgets – this year we were hoping to see regional priority lists from the evolving freight strategies but unfortunately parochialism has again triumphed.

"Infrastructure Australia has made it clear that projects valued below $100 million cannot attract attention. Funds are limited, so a well-developed regional freight strategy has more chance of gaining support for priority investments."

Some 80 percent of the country’s roads are managed by local governments. The VFLC says it’s important to gain investment support through a "well-developed" regional freight strategy, which more likely to be considered.

Its next meeting is on Wednesday, which is dedicated to freight strategy planning.

"We are pleased that three regions are underway with regional freight planning. Here’s hoping that next year’s budget bids have a clear intent for freight," the newsletter says.

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