This year VicRoads, The EPA, Department of Health and the City of Maribyrnong formed the Trucks and the Inner West partnership. This initiative has seen the key players and decision makers working together to find solutions to the truck problem. Their studies have found that up to 61% of trucks on our streets are not local. They are not stocking our supermarkets or businesses; they are avoiding tolls and congestion on our freeways and cutting through the inner West to get to and from Melbourne Port. The community did not actually need a study to tell us this. We see, smell and hear the container trucks every day as we take our kids to school, travel to work and have them wake us in the night.
And we know that diesel exhaust is bad for us. It’s a Class 1 carcinogen, in the same class as asbestos, formaldehyde, plutonium, tobacco smoke and mustard gas. The World Health Organization says there is no safe level of exposure to diesel exhaust. But despite the science and medical research, we have tens of thousands of trucks rumbling past our homes, schools and kindergartens every day, every week and every year. Often the trucks are mere metres from our children as they play and learn at school. It is unacceptable from a social justice perspective that we pay for Melbourne’s freight movements with the health of our children, families, neighbours and friends.
Right now the decision makers of the Trucks and the Inner West partnership are debating extended truck curfews on Yarraville’s Somerville Road and Footscray’s Moore St. We are expecting an announcement this week. Will our government agencies be able to step up to the mark and implement duty of care measures to protect us from diesel exhaust? One thing we do know is that the decisions they make will undoubtedly affect the life expectancy of our children and us.
We want to stop fearing that living in our incredible, vibrant multicultural community may actually be killing us. Stay tuned, but don’t hold your breath unless it is while a container truck rumbles past as you walk your kids to school.
Join us on Wednesday evening to hear what the Trucks and the Inner West partnership has decided
Trucks and the Inner West Information Session
When: 6-7:30 Wednesday 8 October
Where: Reception Room, Civic Offices, Cnr Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray
– See more at: http://www.maribyrnong.vic.gov.au/trucks#sthash.ggz9eylc.dpuf