Vic freight partnership gets industry green light

Truck restrictions offset by newer vehicle incentive

Vic freight partnership gets industry green light
VTA CEO Peter Anderson and MTAG president Martin Wurt


A freight partnership announced by the Victorian government today has been lauded as a constructive example of how "traditional adversaries can work constructively together to achieve solutions that benefit residents and operators".

The government, in conjunction with VicRoads, the Victorian Transport Association (VTA), Maribyrnong Truck Action Group (MTAG) and the Maribyrnong City Council, devised the Smart Freight Partnership – Inner West.

It comprises an "Australian-first package of cleaner freight and road safety actions", part of which includes an Environment Freight Zone established in Melbourne’s inner west, covering Somerville Road and Moore, Francis and Buckley streets.

The initiative, whilst introducing new curfews for certain trucks, encourages the uptake of cleaner vehicles to deliver safer conditions for drivers and residents as a way of counteracting those restrictions.

Access times to roads within the zone will be cut for older trucks that don’t meet strict emission control standards – compared to current access hours, this means a reduction of two hours per day for the first two years, followed by a further two-hour reduction per day in subsequent years.

Trucks manufactured on or after January 1, 2010 that meet stricter emission control standards (Australian Design Rule 80/03 or Euro 5 equivalent) will have three hours more access on weekdays than the older trucks and two hours more time on Saturdays.

Speed limits will be reduced to 50km/h along parts of Williamstown Road (north of Francis Street), Francis Street (west of Hyde Street), Buckley Street (between Princes Highway and Nicholson Street) and Moore Street.

School crossing curfews will continue to be applied on school days only.

Truck operators caught ignoring curfew times can be fined $165 on the spot.

Industry-led training will also be an element of the program, which includes measures to deliver driver awareness training on local access, safety and amenity issues.

The curfew changes aim to strike a balance for the local community and transport operators by addressing concerns about safety, noise and air quality, while keeping freight moving effectively, the Victorian government says.

"We’re closely working with the transport industry to further encourage the use of state-of-the-art, cleaner and quieter trucks, that will benefit both industry and residents in local streets around our ports." Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne says.

The VTA says the idea evolved from the Maribyrnong Cleaner Freight Initiative, developed by the VTA and MTAG and proposed to government in 2017.

Read more about the Cleaner Freight Initiative proposal, here

It says that "the Smart Freight Partnership is an Australian first in terms of encouraging freight operators to modernise their fleet – with an average age of 14.9 years Australia has one of the oldest truck fleets in the developed world, prompting industry groups to come up with incentives for operators to transition to new trucks that are quieter, safer and use less fuel".

The initiative is also an example of how traditional adversaries can work constructively together to achieve solutions that benefit residents and operators, VTA CEO Peter Anderson says.

"Industry and community groups can achieve great things when they work together and acknowledge their individual needs and interests can be achieved through compromise and mature discussions.

"It is encouraging that the Victorian Government has recognised the merits of the visionary plan we developed with MTAG by establishing the Smart Freight Partnership, which we look forward to implementing in conjunction with operators, residents, Freight Victoria and local and state governments."


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