NatRoad calls for backdown on lifting curfews

Economy still hit by pandemic effects and faces supply-chain turmoil, Clark points out

NatRoad calls for backdown on lifting curfews
Warren Clark


Victoria’s decision to reinstate delivery curfews following its rollback of Covid-19 lockdowns will worsen an already choked supply chain in the run to Christmas, the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has warned.

The order waiving curfews that applied across all of Victoria expired on November 5, while the Queensland Government reinstated its own delivery curfews in May.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark said bottlenecks on the waterfront, industrial action, restrictions on inbound air mail and pandemic-related labour shortages were all creating a ‘perfect storm’ that was placing severe stress on the supply chain.

Of the larger jurisdictions, New South Wales remains the outlier where NatRoad successfully lobbied for an extension of curfews until March next year.

Clark said this is giving the state government time to research the case for a possible permanent lifting of curfews in NSW.

"A 24/7 delivery schedule allows heavy vehicle drivers to make deliveries outside of peak hour times when the roads are less crowded," Clark said.

 "Trucks kept the country moving throughout the pandemic but it’s not just about heavy vehicles.

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"Greater delivery flexibility benefits all road users by smoothing peaks and easing congestion.

"Curfews impact on safety because limited delivery timeslots interfere with truck drivers’ ability to manage their fatigue.

"We are still recovering from a global pandemic and transport regulators should recognise that."

Victoria said a ‘ministerial order’ had previously suspended truck curfews and loading zone signs for heavy vehicles transporting food and personal hygiene products to stores during the recent Covid-19 lockdowns.

"Greater flexibility was previously required in scheduling driver deliveries outside of normal operating hours so that supermarkets and pharmacies could meet an increased demand for essential goods," the VicRaods notice read.

"The Order applying across all of Victoria expired on 5 November 2021.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is monitoring and enforcing compliance in curfew areas.

"The Department of Transport continues work with local government, communities and industry to ensure that truck curfews are complied with and enforced when necessary on local roads.

"Truck curfews determine when trucks can use certain roads and aim to strike a balance between the local community and truck operators.

"Unless otherwise signed, restrictions apply to trucks above 4.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM). Access is restricted during the times listed on the relevant sign. If times are not specified on the sign then trucks are restricted 24/7." 


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