Councils ‘pragmatic’ as delivery exemptions gather apace


Coulton lauds co-operation as Victoria and SA follow Queensland’s access move

Councils ‘pragmatic’ as delivery exemptions gather apace
Mark Coulton

 

The federal minister responsible for local government says councils are co-operating with requests for heavy vehicle curfew flexibility, with Victoria and South Australia set to become the latest states to legislate delivery exemptions.

Federal Local Government Minister Mark Coulton, who heeded industry advice to address supply chain bottlenecks amid unprecedented consumer demand, tells ATN feedback from councils largely indicates they either have no curfews in place, or will relax curfews and provide a two-week delivery exemption.

"To date, no councils indicate they disagree, but it is also clear there are some circumstances where new legislation will help give councils additional cover to be more flexible on curfews," his office notes.

Coulton says he remains in contact with industry bodies, state transport ministers, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) on the matter.

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) flagged its discussions with state representatives achieved desired curfew outcomes, with Victoria set to follow Queensland’s lead in legislating exemptions.


More on Queensland's curfew announcement, here


"The VTA has recommended numerous common-sense ideas to create greater access by heavy vehicles and delivery trucks to supermarkets, including the easing of truck curfews on roads throughout the state," VTA CEO Peter Anderson says.

"We are pleased that the government has heeded this advice and has acted quickly to temporarily remove all restrictions, which will enable supermarkets and store shelves to be replenished and re-stocked faster.

"As we said yesterday, patience and a return to normalcy is required from consumers so that supply chains can satisfy the unprecedented demand seen over the past week."

It comes as the South Australian government also decides to amend its planning legislation to allow 24-hour delivery of essential goods, receiving the public backing of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA).

"This is an unprecedented time and we’re delighted to see the South Australian and Queensland governments acting swiftly to allow the heavy vehicle industry the flexibility to ensure the supply of essential goods," NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says.

"This will go a long way to ensuring shelves are stocked and giving peace of mind to those concerned about essential supplies not being available."

SARTA executive officer Steve Shearer adds: "This is a welcome initiative, and SARTA will build on it by working co-operatively with the NHVR to address any other curfews or restrictions in heavy vehicle notices that prevent the most efficient flow of freight." 

Meanwhile, Coulton tells ATN he continues to encourage councils and transport industry stakeholders to show flexibility around overnight delivery curfews and help supermarkets re-stock.

"I am pleased to see councils are being pragmatic and flexible," he says.

"I am confident other states will be looking at whether they need to amend laws to ensure stores can better meet current community demand for supplies.

"I am working with councils to manage the impacts of the COVID-19 on local businesses, citizens and communities.

"As the grassroots level of Government, councils will face challenges and it is important all three levels of Government – Federal, State and Local – work together as we change the way we live our lives to sensibly manage the spread of COVID-19."

 

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