VTA speaks out against lobby group's truck ban push


Anderson advises government to resist calls for permanent bayside heavy vehicle ban

VTA speaks out against lobby group's truck ban push
Anderson says banning trucks affects the transport industry and local communities.

 

The Victorian government must not give heed to calls from activists to impose a total ban on heavy vehicles using Beach Road and Beaconsfield Parade, the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) says.

VTA CEO Peter Anderson says calls from the Bayside Transport Action Group (BTAG) to ban access to trucks in Melbourne’s "politically sensitive bayside suburbs" are opportunistic and irresponsible.

A move in the lobby group's favour would pit the transport industry against the local communities, Anderson says.

This is not the first time BTAG, which comprises Port Phillip, Bayside and Kingston councils, is lobbying for a 24/7 ban on trucks in the area.

The group has been pushing the case since 2015 before announcing plans to make a political bid for the Albert Park seat in the 2018 state elections. 

BTAG had earlier launched a "Truck Off" campaign that used bumper stickers and graphics to portray trucks as polluters and killers.

It led VTA to urge the group to work constructively with the industry and other stakeholders to come to an agreeable decision, at that time.

Today's comment from VTA comes after renewed calls from the lobby group to ban trucks in bayside suburbs.

The calls follow VicRoads’ trial extension of curfews to include 6am-1pm on Saturdays.

"The Victorian Transport Association advocated against the curfew extension, which appears to have been at the behest of Albert Park Labor MP Martin Foley, responding to pressure from minority local interest and an anti-truck group that has threatened to run an independent candidate against him at the next election," Anderson says.

"With extended curfew trials set to commence, there are already calls for permanent bans before any evidence from the trial has even been unearthed.

"This is the slippery-slope the government must resist that sees the industry making concession after concession, with nothing offered in exchange.

"Lazy decisions like this pander to activists and minority local interest and pits the industry against the community, setting back years of progress and compromise we have made with resident groups and local government stakeholders elsewhere.

"The decision-making in bayside suburbs starkly contrasts with the Government’s approach to heavy vehicle restrictions on roads in the inner west of Melbourne after the West Gate Tunnel is built.

"Those restrictions at least contain productivity improvements for industry in the form of mandatory pricing incentives from the toll road’s future operator."

Curfews are already in place on Beach Road from 8pm to 6am Monday to Saturday, and from 1pm Saturday to 6am Monday.

Trucks making local deliveries are exempt.

VTA says it will continue to work with state and local governments, VicRoads and local communities on road-sharing solutions that encourage greater harmony and balance from all users.

"Often lost in debates like this is that a heavy vehicle is someone’s workplace, and applying a curfew to a road is akin to banning or restricting one from working" Anderson says.

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