State Budget 2010, MTAG reaction

May 5, 2010 29 Comments

PRESS RELEASE

Anger is again rising in the inner west after the state government failed to fund the ‘Truck Action Plan’ to take trucks off residential streets in the inner west.

The project is budgeted at $380 million in the Victorian Transport Plan and building was supposed to begin this year. Instead there is just $21 million for planning and early works on the Truck Action Plan and the WestLink tunnel including a $6.2 million Commonwealth contribution.

“It’s a bit of a letdown. Effectively there is nothing in the budget for the Westgate ramps given the government announced $11 million of this some months ago,” said MTAG spokesman Peter Knight.

The ramps were slated as a ‘priority’ in the Victorian Transport Plan and through 2009 MTAG had meetings with Marsha Thomson, Wade Noonan and Tim Pallas and were assured that this project would go ahead.

This latest development comes after 10 years of fighting by community groups to have something done about the 20,000 trucks a day that use residential streets in the inner west.

“In 2007 MTAG commissioned a company to conduct a health survey and it revealed asthma levels three times higher than those of other Melbournians, ” said Peter Knight. “These trucks do not constitute an inconvenience, they represent a health emergency.”

“Something needs to be done urgently about this problem. We’ve been saying it for years now, Sir Rod Eddington said it, Minister Pallas admitted it, and these ramps have been on VicRoads’ drawing board for more than a decade, we hope we’re not going to be waiting for too much longer.”

MTAG is still very hopeful of good news when Infrastructure Australia announces its funding round in a month or so but whatever happens has reiterated its commitment to fight to ensure that something is done about this intolerable situation.

“We’ll do whatever we need to and hope that the progress that has been made in the last 12 months will continue,” said Peter Knight.

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29 responses to "State Budget 2010, MTAG reaction"

  • trevor junge says: (Edit)

    so much for "Priority" so much for "..action plan" more like "no Priority" and "no action plan"...VIctoria on the move (well down francis st) This government can hang its head in shame at the next election!

  • Mr Somerville Rd says: (Edit)

    Yarraville may be changing in terms of demographics but it will have to become the Brighton of the west before anyone in Government does more than listen, nod reassuringly and agree. Action's still light years away

  • Andres says: (Edit)

    What a disgrace! Again this government only spends on Spin, Spin Spin! Enough is enough. I've heard that the Greens may snap a few seats in the inner city. This is the time to demonstrate to this government that residents of the West are not second class citizens. I am so angry about this farce. It is like this government lies just to pretend that they are doing something. The Brumby government reminds me more and more of the Howard government, but as I said before. Enough is Enough!

  • adam says: (Edit)

    >What a disgrace! Again this government only spends on Spin, Spin Spin! Incorrect. They are spending. And spending big time. A few billion on rail is not enough? VicRoads buying properties for the tunnel? The problem is they are not spending money on what YOU want. >I’ve heard that the Greens may snap a few seats in the inner city. A few seats will have no impact. Who is the Liberal leader? Until Yarraville Gardens is built the numbers are still to pro-Labor > This is the time to demonstrate to this government that residents of the West are not second class citizens Whilst they blindly vote for the same government, they will remain unimportant. >The Brumby government reminds me more and more of the Howard government Really? How so? I mean they're roles are completely different.

  • Preceptor says: (Edit)

    I think the residents of Yarraville are pawns in a game being played out by government and big business. Just look at the big name trucks breaking the Francis Street truck curfew every night. I asked the Maribyrnong Council how many fines were being issued every month for infringements of the curfew and was told that the information was not divulged to the public. Does anyone have access to this information? I also believe that any safe seat will always be ignored by the main political parties. The only way to make political parties sit up and take any notice, is to become a marginal seat. Has anyone looked into the feasability of a class action against the state government or trucking componies? Where are you Slater and Gordon?

  • Peter says: (Edit)

    We are still optimistic that the ramps will be funded before the next election through Infrastructure Australia. If they don't then MTAG will be taking to the streets again. It's not so much a matter of what WE want to get built, it's making sure that measures are taken to get trucks off the streets and away from residential areas. The ramps have been endorsed by Minister Pallas, by Sir Rod Eddington, by Maribyrnong Council, by Dr Paul Mees, by the Greens, by the Liberals, by VicRoads. It's not just residents who are pushing this... it's a sensible measure. In contrast, the tunnel makes no sense whatsoever. You only have to look at a map to know that bringing a six lane tunnel out right in the middle of a burgeoning residential area (West Footscray) makes no sense and will create more problems than it solves which will worsen with the passage of time.

  • Steve says: (Edit)

    I say we wait a month to hear what the Infrastructure Australia funding concludes...if no truck action plan...we protest!! Lets get to the streets and let our voices be heard again...well maybe not over those loud trucks anyway

  • Preceptor says: (Edit)

    If it becomes necessary to protest again, it may be a good idea to picket the entrance to the Mobil refinery during the truck curfew period. That way the trucks will fill up Francis street before they realise what has happened. It will then be easy to photograph them and Vic Roads will be able to interview the drivers in their stationery trucks. A few weeks ago I tried to photograph curfew breakers but you its really hard getting clear pictures of the plates. I suggest we just photograph the big name companies trucks with a date and tme stamp. For example the serial offenders like Linfox and Chalmers.

  • steve says: (Edit)

    May I just add that I love your proactive approach Preceptor...if we dont speak out once again I'm afraid our cause will be swept under the cover...its just about keeping everyone informed that this is still a big issue...whichever government has the balls to progress this change has my vote and respect...not that that really means anything to them by the looks of it May I add I was on sydney road last week and was stopped by a number of people protesting because they were forced to take stalls away from the local shopping centre...they voiced there opinion with a catchy tune and got my attention...is there any places besides our local area that we should be focusing a protest in in order to be heard?

  • Preceptor says: (Edit)

    I finds Adams comments mildly amusing. Two questions come to mind. Where does he live? Gladstone Park toxic waste dump? Which trucking company does he work for? If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably not a possum!

  • adam says: (Edit)

    Preceptor, Which comments do you find amusing? They were not comments they are facts. For the record, I no longer reside in the Yarraville area - long term MTAGers know my former address - some even came to my house. No, I am not a truck driver or employed in the transport industry. I am however happy to send you a CV if it will stop your churlish comments - a repeated course by MTAG posters to prevent discussion on the issues. I shan't bother stooping to such immature levels of incivility. You cannot picket Mobil refinery - those trucks using the refinery are legally using Francis Street. The trucks that cut through Yarraville, are breaking the law - to prove that you need photos at entrances and exits. (Note: this assumes the curfew rules have not changed in the last 24 months) My issue has always been that, regardless of the final solution, there will be losers - something that is often forgotten. Sure, I accept utiliatrianism, but sometimes you need to take the blinkers off, if only to be respectful to others. The Super Tax has reduced the chances of funding via Infrastructure Australia, however their is reason to be hopeful.

  • Preceptor says: (Edit)

    My apologies I didn't realise the brackets were quotation marks before. I was commenting on the tankers that use Mobil during the curfew period.

  • Preceptor says: (Edit)

    I think its important to focus resources on the most pressing issue first. Otherwise there is a danger of spreading resources too thinly. Or pick an issue that can be progressed easily. The road to success should be taken in incremental steps. So I think we should pick one issue and then go in hard to get a win. And don't stop until we achieve a win. I think past history clearly shows that as soon as we reduce the pressure then government action stops. Also it is important to target all of the stakeholder; polititions, Vic Roads, company directors. If we don't adopt this kind of approach we will continue to be rolled again and again. If we are living in a safe labour seat then we need to give our rep a run for his/her money. Get media coverage of us picketing our reps office.

  • Adam says: (Edit)

    Have to jump in here and voice my support for Adam who has often made great contributions on this site. Always opinionated and well informed... just what we need for a lively dialogue. And your point about utilitarianism is well made Adam. I also agree broadly with Steve and Adam in that we should be proactive and keep the pressure up... More on that soon: we will be asking for volunteers to do some leafleting soon

  • Peter says: (Edit)

    Whoops I meant to put my name in the name box on the last post and accidentally wrote 'Adam' Must be bedtime

  • adam says: (Edit)

    >I also agree broadly with Steve and Adam in that we should be proactive and keep the pressure up… I suspect you mean someone else... As I have stated to you in the past Peter, I admire your efforts and feel you should be proud of MTAGs work. However, as in the past, I don't care if people attack me personally, it only reflects poorly on them (and MTAG) - and the regular aggressive approach to 'discussion' has been duly noted by key players and undoubtedly unhelpful to the prevailing cause. I no longer agree with active protesting and picketing. The truck issue is accepted by every organisation political or otherwise, I suspect any further traffic disruptions will be met with legal ramifications. Sure, be proactive, but be smarter. There must be a reason that the funding was not provided, its not a hge sum. MTAG has to look beyond the political spin. Does the traffic modelling post-tunnel (and WRR connection) show that the off-ramps are 'potentially' unnecessary? Is Eddington's diminishing reputation adversely influencing decisions? Have you been conned by Marsha et al (do poliicians of her ilk even matter)? Furthermore, you will not win a no-tunnel fight. The focus must be the alignment. The tunnel will happen, regardless of whom is in power. A new road route to the City is required (at least in the minds of all decision makers). I agree the proposed alignment is non-sensical without the freeway component. I don't agree with any group (NF4WF) who blindly promote other solutions, simply because the outcome is spatially insignificant to them. Fingers crossed the WA and QLD-centric Infrastructure Australia board answer your wishes - despite you not even knowing the exact plans!

  • Preceptor says: (Edit)

    As far as I can see this group has been operating since around 2006. The people contributing to this forum seem to be reasonable and well informed. My question is what has really been achieved during the life of this group. Many people seem to have put in a lot of time and effort over many years. But, lets face it, the problems have still not been resolved. Politics and big business are dirty games. You are not going to change anything by being reasonable people. To succeed in politics and big business you need to be tough and at times ruthless. You need to become better at playing them at their own game. Otherwise you will still be in the same position in five years time. I'm not advocating anything unethical, I'm recommending a more public and sustained direct action approach. Tonight I've been out monitoring the tanker trucks using the Mobil refinery during the curfew period. It's interesting that tonight all of the tankers are unmarked. I'll keep watching until 3.00 am and see what happens.

  • Preceptor says: (Edit)

    This weekend I observed many tankers breaking the curfew. I think we should publish the names of the companies that break the curfew. We can't identify the drivers but we can identify the companies. I'd be prepared to record them and if neccessary sign stat decs to support my claims. If we can keep this up we can shame them. This could be part of a multipronged approach. Right now labour is closing ranks in preparation for a federal election. They can't afford much more bad press. We need to adopt the old "guilty party" approach. Come on guys where's the fire in your bellies? As I said before, following due process hasn't worked in the past, we need to be more confrontational.

  • Preceptor says: (Edit)

    To help kick things off, here are two offenders for the books. 3.27 am Sunday 16 May - Toll tanker heading up Francis Street towards Williamstown Road. 11.25 pm Sunday 16 May - BP tanker heading up Francis Street towards Williamstown Road.

  • Peter says: (Edit)

    Love your energy, but these are not curfew breakers as they have a local destination. Let us know if you want to come to a committee meeting sometime. Plenty of fire in the belly there. MTAG has made some pretty significant progress in the past few years... might be worth having a browse. Cheers

  • Paul says: (Edit)

    MTAG - C'mom- is this really a surprise? You guys are too trusting of the Govt. You may get your ramps but with industry and the govt in bed together what faith do you have that they will then ban or enforce restrictions of the local truck traffic on Francis St? In effect you will have two truck routed through Yarraville! What's worse - one busy truck route - or the destruction of Hyde St Reserve, a noisy fly-over (trucks make most noise up and down hills) the acquisition of properties and the widening of Hyde and Whitehall - all packaged up with a tunnel? You may get your ramps but this wont stop heavy truck usage on Francis St - it will just make the inner west worse! Look what the cameras did! I for one will be mighty pissed if these ramps are built and you dump this problem on my doorstep. The noise from the freeway is bad between the Westgate and Francis St (Hughes, Beverley, Banool, Thomas St, Salisbury, etc) as the wind usually blows it up the river. It's time you learnt not to trust these guys!

  • Bill says: (Edit)

    No it's not really a surprise that they have not been funded in this State budget but I still believe that the ramps will be built. Having spent a lot of time and energy on this campaign I believe I have some extra insight. Still, it is just my point of view I am expressing. You seem to think we are somehow naive or gullible... you are entitled to your opinion but that's all it is... we will see with the passage of time. If the ramps are built there will still be a few trucks on Francis St west of Hyde but very few. Currently 7000 a day will drop to a matter of hundred. In Somerville Rd (which hosts two primary schools) will drop from between 2000 and 3000 to just those making deliveries. This will represent a massive gain for many thousands of residents. You will also be much better off in the streets you mentioned. You currently have 7000 trucks passing within a hundred meters every day... once the ramps are built they will be much further away. We are also lobbying for sound barriers etc. You seem to think that the present situation is OK somehow or that it's better for you so you misrepresent how these ramps would be implemented... on what basis do you assert that the Hyde St Reserve would be destroyed? This is really alarmist garbage. Good to get all points of view here though...

  • Preceptor says: (Edit)

    1.00 am Monday 17 May – Toll tanker heading up Francis Street towards Williamstown Road. 1.02 am Monday 17 May – BP tanker heading up Francis Street towards Williamstown Road. 8.45 pm Tuesday 18 May – Cootes tanker heading up Francis Street towards Williamstown Road. 9.40 pm Tuesday 18 May – Toll tanker heading up Francis Street towards Williamstown Road. Forget about fining the truck drivers. Focus on the companies. Modern logistics companies use GPS to track their fleet. They know their trucks are breaking the curfew. Focus on the Mobil refinery. The have records of who is filling up at what time. Forget about Vic Roads, they are directed by the government. Focus on the government. How many years have you guys been following due process? Every time a tanker breaks the curfew the companies and government are giving us the finger. I can understand that after such a long campaign many of you must be running out of steam. I apologise if I have offended anyone, but my strategy was a deliberate one to gauge the passion. I really believe that the only strategy that will work is one that identifies the people responsible and then targets their public credibility. We need a sustained "guilty party" campaign to shame senior public figures into delivering the outcomes we are seeking.

  • Peter says: (Edit)

    We're not running out of steam. Mobile tankers are not curfew breakers. Trucks with local origin or destination have curfew exemption.

  • Preceptor says: (Edit)

    My point is that there should never have been any exemptions. The tankers produce the same noise and polution as others. It's nonsense. The tollways were built to relieve congestion, so the tankers should use westgate and bolte bridge. How do the tollway operators feel about the government coluding with business to reduce their income? I am sorry but I feel you guys are being rolled all the time. You are nice guys caught in a street brawl. Govermemt and business will only come to the party if we cam beat them at their own game.

  • Preceptor says: (Edit)

    I think it's time to up the anti. No tangible action by the government, then no more local exeptions. Then we follow up with rolling actions.

  • Paul says: (Edit)

    Bill, I/m not being alarmist - I'm judging by the Vic Road drawings that see a four way trucking route through the Stony Creek plantings and the acquisition of 12 homes along Hyde Street. You musn't live in the effected area. My point is that what you are advocating for will eventuate in more trucking routes in the inner west. And NO - it will not be good for us in the before mentioned streets - these ramps will closer to my house than Francis Street and the noise for us is comes from the Freeway - not Francis St. I'd be happy to show you around Bill if you would like to take the time to come and look and listen and come check out the birdlife in Hyde St Reserve. Out of sight out of mind though hey?

  • Preceptor says: (Edit)

    Would it not be a better idea if the gov used the money to help the companies to relocate? It would make more sense to extend the docklands development towards Yarraville.

  • Bill says: (Edit)

    Paul we'll have to agree to disagree. I do live in the area and know the reserve well.